Adding Naloxone to Prescription Painkillers?

Another Use for Naloxone

Prescription drug abuse is and has been a problem in the United States since the 1990s. Doctors were prescribing pills for nearly everything and the pills weren’t made with the future in mind. Meaning that the pills were very easy to abuse with little to no deterrent. That is because, back then, painkillers were thought to be safe and have little risk of addiction if taken properly, but that quickly turned out to be wrong–very wrong. Painkillers became the new drug of choice among people prescribed the drugs and also those who weren’t.

Then they had to fix it, so…..

To combat this new prescription drug problem, drug makers began developing abuse resistant pills. This means that the manufacturers of the drugs began making it harder for people to crush and then snort, or crush and then shoot up pills.

The powerful new painkiller Zohydro is under such scrutiny mainly for this kind of thing. It hit the market with no abuse resistant formulation.

One way that drug companies deter abuse of their products is by making pills crush-resistant.

Most pills start out as a powder in their original form. The powder is then pressed into a solid pill that can be crushed (between two spoons, for example) back into its original form by an abuser, making the substance easy to snort.

But abuse-resistant pills are made differently. OxyContin (NOW), for example, makes its pills using the painkiller oxycodone along with a plastic-like polymer. The polymer is heated to a molten phase and then cooled in the shape of the tablets to form pills. At that point, the oxycodone is embedded into the solid pill. Because the pills have plasticity, users can’t crush them into a powder form.

These pills aren’t good for IV¬†drug users either. If someone tries to dissolve the pill in liquid, it turns to a gel that can’t be injected.

Another way to make pills abuse resistant, is to add another drug to the mix.


Recently, the National Institutes of Health explained this method, saying that a drug like naloxone which reverses the effects of painkillers could be added to pills to force a drug abuser into withdrawal if the pill is taken inappropriately. Because naloxone isn’t very effective when taken orally, it wouldn’t affect people who take pills appropriately. But for those who snort it or inject it? The naloxone will kick in–causing the person not only to have an ineffective drug but also they will go into withdrawal. As we know right now naloxone¬†works best as a nasal spray and as an injection for reversing overdoses, so it makes sense.

What do you think? Naloxone laced pills?