Abuse Deterrent Formulations (ADF) Allow People in Pain Better Access to the Medications They Need
By Ken Taylor, Executive Director
Power of Pain Foundation
I have been an advocate for people in pain for eight years. I’m also a caregiver. Over the years, I have noticed a shift in the discussion of opioids; it seems less about patients who use them properly and more about the possibility of abuse. Opioids remain an important option in the treatment of chronic pain,but even patients who take medications as prescribed may feel their access to opioid analgesics restricted.
People in pain need safe, effective and accountable access to the proper medications. While providers, pharmaceutical companies and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue to address abuse issues while ensuring appropriate access to opioid analgesics, there is more that can be done.
An important step is the creation of safer opioid analgesics.Referred to as Abuse Deterrent formulations (ADF), these opioids are developed and formulated to resist alteration and therefore deter abuse. The FDA considers the development of these products a high public health priority. And I agree.
Four Ways to Ensuring Proper Access to Care
Strong and lasting solutions to the opioid health crisis depend on state and national pain policy. I encourage the pain community to help ensure that access to care remains a high priority for the millions of patients who need and take medications responsibly. As advocates, we can:
- Help define ADF technology. States need advocates to help define ADF based on FDA guidance.
- Support and create legislation which allows non-ADF products from being substituted by pharmacists for ADF,without approval of the prescribing health professional. This legislation should ensure that unless the substituted opioid is also a non-ADF or consent is obtained from the prescribing health professional, a pharmacist would be prohibited from substituting another opioid for an ADF.
- Advance patient safety. State legislation should place a high priority on ADF opioid market places where more ADF treatment options exist; and pharmaceutical companies should create these safer medications making them more readily available for pain patients.
- Support the removal of barriers to non-opioid therapies as a first line of treatment for pain.
As a leader in the pain community, I work hard to provide access to care for people in pain. I encourage patients and caregivers to learn more about ADF and pain legislation. I hear from patients around the country almost daily who are having trouble filling prescriptions as written. ADF’s can be a step in the right direction. There is a balance between safe opioid use and abuse;but it will require individuals to speak up and take action.
To learn more, visit www.powerofpainfoundation.org