Los Angeles Times Versus Purdue Pharma: Is 12-Hour Dosing of OxyContin Appropriate?
In a provocative article, writers for the Los Angeles Times stated they have evidence that the 12-hour dosing schedule indicated for OxyContin is ineffective in many people and fosters addiction.1 Purdue Pharma is said to have known about this problem yet continued to promote the 12-hour dosing schedule for financial reasons.
Purdue responded that the LA Times disregarded clinical evidence provided to the reporters (by Purdue) supporting 12-hour dosing of OxyContin, and stated that the article was “long on anecdote and short on facts.”2 LA Times countered all of the points raised by Purdue.3
Practical Pain Management presents excerpts of the claims and responses from both sides (Table). In addition, our resident opioid expert, Jennifer Schneider, MD, PhD, culled through the LA Times article and describes her reaction to the claims made (see Commentary).
FDA Calls for an Individualized Approach to OxyContin Dosing Schedule
The LA Times article included a written statement from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spokesperson Sarah Peddicord stating, “It should be well understood by physicians that there will be some individual variability in the length of time that patients respond to this drug....While the labeled dosing regimen is a reasonable starting point, physicians should carefully individualize their approach to patients based on how quickly they metabolize the drug.”
Practical Pain Management contacted the FDA for a response to article, and was told, “The FDA has no additional comment on this topic.”