The impact of a reformulation of extended-release oxycodone designed to deter abuse in a sample of prescription opioid abusers

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 Jun 1;139:9-17. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.02.018. Epub 2014 Feb 26.


Background: Prescription opioid abuse is a significant public health concern that requires strategies to reduce its impact, including development of abuse deterrent formulations. OxyContin, an extended-release oxycodone (ERO) formulation, has been widely abused. This study assessed the effects of reformulated ERO, designed to be more difficult to manipulate for purposes of intranasal and intravenous abuse, on patterns of opioid abuse among a sample of individuals from rural Appalachia with a history of ERO abuse.

Methods: Structured interviews assessing opioid abuse (past 30-day abuse and retrospectively reported abuse prior to the reformulation in August 2010) were completed by 189 individuals between December 2010 and September 2011.

Results: The past 30-day prevalence and frequency of reformulated ERO abuse through any route (33%, 1.9 days/month), snorting (5%, 0.2 days/month), and injecting (0.5%, <0.1 days/month) were low and infrequent compared to that of IR oxycodone (any route: 96%, 19.5 days/month; snorting: 70%, 10.3 days/month; injecting: 51%, 10.5 days/month) and retrospectively reported abuse of original ERO in August 2010 (any route: 74%, 13.4 days/month; snorting: 39%, 6.0 days/month; injecting: 41%, 8.6 days/month). After the reformulation, the prevalence of original ERO abuse significantly declined while abuse of reformulated ERO remained steadily low. Heroin abuse was rare in this sample.

Conclusions: In this sample, abuse of reformulated ERO was low, and lower than abuse of original ERO retrospectively and IR oxycodone concurrently, particularly through injecting and snorting routes of administration. There was no evidence to suggest that reformulated ERO became a substitute for original ERO.

Keywords: Abuse deterrent formulation; ER oxycodone; Extended-release oxycodone; Prescription opioid abuse; Tamper resistant formulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Oxycodone / administration & dosage*
  • Prescription Drug Misuse / prevention & control*
  • Prescription Drug Misuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence


  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Oxycodone