Pain specialists more comfortable than primary care doctors with prescribing abuse-deterrent opioids, study finds

 BURLINGTON, Mass. — New, abuse-deterrent formulations of two opioid painkillers have not necessarily reduced doctors' unease with prescribing them, according to a new study.

According to the study, by market research firm Decision Resources, surveyed primary care physicians did not feel more comfortable prescribing Purdue Pharma's OxyContin (oxycodone) and Endo Pharmaceuticals' Opana ER (oxymorphone) for chronic pain despite the addition of features to the drugs that make them more difficult to abuse. But surveyed pain specialists were more comfortable prescribing them. More than half of managed care organization directors have found that coverage of the drugs has not changed with the availability of the new versions.

Drug abusers have long been known to crush or dissolve tablets for snorting, smoking or intravenous injection, and they have figured prominently in pharmacy robberies and drug thefts. In recent years, Purdue and Endo have made it so the drugs lose their effect if they are crushed or dissolved.