HealthDay News — The tamper-resistant formulation of controlled-release oxycodone in Australia reduced tampering among high-risk populations, according to a study published online Jan. 10 in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Briony Larance, PhD, from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and colleagues assessed multiple data sources, including an interrupted time-series analyses of opioid sales data and multiple routinely collected health datasets; followed a cohort of people who previously tampered with pharmaceutical opioids; and analyzed annual surveys of injection drug users. 

The researchers observed reduced sales of higher strengths of controlled-release oxycodone and increased sales of other oxycodone formulations. Across sentinel populations (e.g., prospective cohort, surveys of people who inject drugs, and clients of supervised injecting facilities or needle and syringe programs), meta-analyses showed reduced tampering of controlled-release oxycodone use (mainly injection), with no evidence of switching to heroin or other drug use. No significant effect was seen on population-level indicators of opioid overdose or numbers of patients seeking help or treatment.

“This formulation of controlled-release oxycodone reduced tampering with pharmaceutical opioids among people who inject drugs, but did not affect population-level opioid use or harm,” the authors write.

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