After pushing addictive OxyContin, Purdue now pursuing overdose antidote

If approved, Purdue's new drug would compete with opioid overdose antidote, naloxone.

Enlarge / If approved,
Purdue’s new drug would compete with opioid overdose antidote,
naloxone. (credit:
GettySteve Russell
)

Notorious OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma—which has been widely
criticized for deceptively marketing its highly addictive
painkiller and for its role in spurring the current nationwide
epidemic of opioid abuse and overdose deaths—is moving ahead with
a new, potent drug, one said to be an antidote to opioid
overdoses.

The company
announced this week
that the US Food and Drug Administration
has granted fast-track status to its investigational drug nalmefene
hydrochloride (HCl), an injectable, emergency treatment intended to
rescue people suspected of having an opioid overdose. Purdue
suggests that nalmefene HCl’s effects last longer than the
similar emergency opioid antagonist naloxone. As such, the company
hopes nalmefene HCl will out-compete naloxone at reversing
overdoses from the most highly potent opioid, namely fentanyl,
which is currently driving the alarming numbers of opioid overdose
deaths. The FDA’s
fast-track status
will speed the development and regulatory
review of the drug.

“Opioid antagonists like naloxone have played an important
role in the emergency treatment of opioid overdose,” John Renger,
Purdue’s head of Research & Development and Regulatory
Affairs, said in a statement. “However, because of the increasing
number of deaths due to fentanyl and its even more potent
analogues, we are focusing on a potentially more potent and
longer-lasting rescue option specifically intended to work in those
overdose situations.”

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
After pushing addictive OxyContin, Purdue now pursuing overdose antidote