By TOM REICHMAN / ReutersThe Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced it will ban the use of powdered forms of a drug used to treat pain and inflammation, the popular opioid painkiller oxycodone.
The move, which comes as more states and cities around the country grapple with rising opioid overdoses, marks the first time the agency has ruled on whether to ban the opioid pain reliever since 2004, when it decided to regulate its own formulation of the painkiller, known as naloxone.
In addition to halting the use, sales and distribution of the drug, the FDA is also removing the generic form of the pill, OxyContin, from the market.
OxyContin was developed in the late 1980s as a powerful antidote for the side effects of prescription opioids, which include dizziness, muscle pain, anxiety, tremors, memory loss and suicidal thoughts.
It has been used by thousands of people for years to help them manage chronic pain, but its popularity has skyrocketed since President Donald Trump and other critics of opioids have touted its use as a treatment for a wide range of illnesses.
Since the beginning of 2017, more than 3,300 people have died of opioids-related overdoses in the U.S.
The FDA announced Tuesday that it has banned the use in the United States of the opioid-related painkiller OxyContin in order to save lives and avoid “addictive misuse.”
The agency says the move is based on the scientific evidence, including the findings of studies on the drug and its interactions with the central nervous system, which can cause severe respiratory depression.
The agency also announced a ban on the sale of other opioids, including codeine, acetaminophen and codeine-based painkillers, including OxyContin.
The new rules will go into effect for OxyContin and other painkillers beginning on Jan. 1.
The move comes amid a dramatic increase in overdoses among opioid users and a surge in the use and sale of prescription opioid painkillers.
The Drug Enforcement Administration estimates more than half of all overdose deaths in the country are linked to opioid use.
In March, the agency announced it would ban the sale and manufacture of the powerful narcotic fentanyl.
The announcement followed a massive spike in overdoses in California and the state’s most populous city, Los Angeles.
The Drug Enforcement Agency also announced it was banning the sale, manufacture and sale to minors of all opioids except for Oxycontin.
This includes opioids that contain a generic form known as hydrocodone.
The agency also said it would stop allowing the sale to non-medical consumers of heroin and other street drugs, which are still legal in the state.
The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requires the FDA to protect the public health and safety by banning or restricting the importation, marketing, distribution, manufacture, and possession of products containing the opioid, which the agency defines as a drug with a high potential for abuse and a high propensity for abuse, and has approved since 1998.
The drug is often prescribed to treat symptoms of chronic pain or chronic illness such as fibromyalgia, back pain, chronic pain from cancer, and anxiety.
In 2015, Congress approved legislation that created a commission to investigate and recommend the FDA regulate the opioid market.
The panel, which includes drug companies, has yet to produce any final recommendations.
The FDA’s new rules were announced as part of the commission’s report, which is expected to be released later this year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.