Laboratory-based Testing to Evaluate Abuse-Deterrent Formulations and Satisfy the Food and Drug Administration's Recommendation for Category 1 Testing

J Opioid Manag. Nov/Dec 2017;13(6):441-448. doi: 10.5055/jom.2017.0420.


The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers the development of abuse-deterrent formulations of solid oral dosage forms a public health priority and has outlined a series of premarket studies that should be performed prior to submitting an application to the Agency. Category 1 studies are performed to characterize whether the abuse-deterrent properties of a new formulation can be easily defeated. Study protocols are designed to evaluate common abuse patterns of prescription medications as well as more advanced methods that have been reported on drug abuse websites and forums. Because FDA believes Category 1 testing should fully characterize the abuse-deterrent characteristics of an investigational formulation, Category 1 testing is time consuming and requires specialized laboratory resources as well as advanced knowledge of prescription medication abuse. Recent Advisory Committee meetings at FDA have shown that Category 1 tests play a critical role in FDA's evaluation of an investigational formulation. In this article, we will provide a general overview of the methods of manipulation and routes of administration commonly utilized by prescription drug abusers, how those methods and routes are evaluated in a laboratory setting, and discuss data intake, analysis, and reporting to satisfy FDA's Category 1 testing requirements.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abuse-Deterrent Formulations* / standards
  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects*
  • Analgesics, Opioid / chemistry
  • Analgesics, Opioid / standards
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical* / standards
  • Drug Approval* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Drug Compounding
  • Humans
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Prescription Drug Misuse / prevention & control*
  • Quality Control
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • United States Food and Drug Administration* / standards


  • Abuse-Deterrent Formulations
  • Analgesics, Opioid