Impact of abuse-deterrent OxyContin on prescription opioid utilization

Catherine S. Hwang, Hsien Yen Chang, G. Caleb Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Purpose: We quantified the degree to which the August 2010 reformulation of abuse-deterrent OxyContin affected its use, as well as the use of alternative extended-release and immediate-release opioids. Methods: We used the IMS Health National Prescription Audit, a nationally representative source of prescription activity in the USA, to conduct a segmented time-series analysis of the use of OxyContin and other prescription opioids. Our primary time period of interest was 12months prior to and following August 2010. We performed model checks and sensitivity analyses, such as adjusting for marketing and promotion, using alternative lag periods, and adding extra observation points. Results: OxyContin sales were similar before and after the August 2010 reformulation, with approximately 550000 monthly prescriptions. After adjusting for declines in the generic extended-release oxycodone market, the formulation change was associated with a reduction of approximately 18000 OxyContin prescription sales per month (p=0.02). This decline corresponded to a change in the annual growth rate of OxyContin use, from 4.9% prior to the reformulation to -23.8% during the year after the reformulation. There were no statistically significant changes associated with the sales of alternative extended-release (p=0.42) or immediate-release (p=0.70) opioids. Multiple sensitivity analyses supported these findings and their substantive interpretation. Conclusions: The market debut of abuse-deterrent OxyContin was associated with declines in its use after accounting for the simultaneous contraction of the generic extended-release oxycodone market. Further scrutiny into the effect of abuse-deterrent formulations on medication use and health outcomes is vital given their popularity in opioid drug development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-204
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Abuse-deterrent
  • Drug utilization
  • Extended-release
  • Opioid
  • OxyContin
  • Oxycodone
  • Pharmacoepidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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