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Abuse of reformulated OxyContin: Updated findings from a sentinel surveillance sample of individuals assessed for substance use disorder

Theresa A. Cassidy, MPH, Eileen Thorley, MPH, Ryan A. Black, PhD, Angela DeVeaugh-Geiss, PhD, Stephen F. Butler, PhD, Paul Coplan, ScD


Objective: To examine abuse prevalence for OxyContin and comparator opioids over a 6-year period prior to and following market entry of reformulated OxyContin and assess consistency in abuse across treatment settings and geographic regions.

Design: An observational study examining longitudinal changes using cross-sectional data from treatment centers for substance use disorder.

Setting: A total of 874 facilities in 39 states in the United States within the National Addictions Vigilance Intervention and Prevention Program (NAVIPPRO®) surveillance system.

Participants: Adults (72,060) assessed for drug problems using the Addiction Severity Index-Multimedia Version (ASI-MV®) from January 2009 through December 2015 who abused prescription opioids.

Main outcome measure(s): Percent change in past 30-day abuse.

Results: OxyContin had significantly lower abuse 5 years after reformulation compared to levels for original OxyContin. Consistency of magnitude in OxyContin abuse reductions across geographic regions, ranging from 41 to 52 percent with differences in abuse reductions in treatment setting categories occurred. Changes in geographic region and treatment settings across study years did not bias the estimate of lower OxyContin abuse through confounding.

Conclusion: In the postmarket setting, limitations and methodologic challenges in abuse measurement exist and it is difficult to isolate singular impacts of any one intervention given the complexity of prescription opioid abuse. Expectations for a reasonable threshold of abuse for any one ADF product or ADF opioids as a class are still uncertain and undefined. A significant decline in abuse prevalence of reformulated OxyContin was observed 5 years after its reformulation among this treatment sample of individuals assessed for substance use disorder that was lower historically for the original formulation of this product.


prescription opioid, abuse, ADFs, OxyContin, NAVIPPRO

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