In the story “The depths of drug use” in last week’s Journal there was some confusion regarding OxyContin. Here are the facts regarding oxycodone and OxyContin:
Oxycodone is an opioid (morphine-like) analgesic drug substance that was introduced in the late 1930s and is now used in more than 50 different drug products in the U.S. Oxycodone is available in combination with aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen in immediate-release (short-acting) combination analgesic drug products, including Percodan®, Percocet®, Tylox®, and Combunox®. In addition, oxycodone is the sole active ingredient in some other immediate-release drug products, such as Roxicodone®.
By contrast, OxyContin® is the brand name of the specific controlled-release formulation of oxycodone distributed by Purdue Pharma L.P.
In 2002, OxyContin® represented 24.5 percent of all U.S. oxycodone prescriptions (i.e., immediate-release oxycodone-only products, immediate-release combination products, and modified-release oxycodone-only products). By 2009 OxyContin® accounted for 12.9 percent of the prescriptions for all oxycodone-containing products.