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Big blow for Purdue Pharma as Cigna ends OxyContin coverage

Big blow for Purdue Pharma as Cigna ends OxyContin coverage

The past has a way of catching up. That certainly seems to be the case with Purdue Pharma. Accused of deceptive marketing practices, the pharma giant had to face the wrath of several state and local governments, which have sued it for fueling the opioid epidemic. A lawsuit filed by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson in September 2017 implicated the drug major for convincing doctors and public that their signature medication OxyContin has low risks of addiction.

The pharmaceutical company has suffered yet another blow. In October 2017, Cigna Corp announced that it would stop covering OxyContin. It signed a contract with Collegium Pharmaceutical Inc. for Xtampza ER, an extended-release oxycodone formulation, with lower potential for abuse. Unlike OxyContin, Xtampza ER cannot be made more potent or fast-acting by cutting or crushing.

The controversial OxyContin, also known as Hillbilly Heroin, first came into the market in 1995. While physicians were wary of the drug, the drug manufacturer proclaimed wrongfully that the delayed response mechanism could limit the risk of addiction associated with the drug. Steven May, a former employee, who has since turned into a whistle-blower, claimed that he was trained to market the drug aggressively. The idea was to ensure that patients would, “Start with and to stay with,” although the drug has an immense potential for abuse.

OxyContin is a narcotic opiate pain reliever and is primarily used by cancer patients and those suffering from chronic pain. However, in many instances, those with the prescribed dose tend to abuse the drug long after the pain has subsided. This is due to its mood-altering properties. When one takes more than the prescribed amount of the substance, respiratory failure and death can ensue.

OxyContin abuse endangers mental health   

Any form of drug dependence is responsible for causing neurochemical changes in the brain. These could significantly alter the individual’s behavior and endanger his/her mental health. Some potential risks of long-term OxyContin abuse are given below:

1. Altered mood, memory and cognition: One of the dangers of prolonged drug use is altered mood, cognition and memory. As the drug befuddles the brain, it is difficult for the person to remember anything and make sensible decisions.

2. Hallucinations: One common side effect of OxyContin abuse is hallucinations. The tendency to hallucinate is more common in women aged 60 and above. eHealthMe, an American medical analysis website which studies nearly 40 million drug outcomes post their market release, analyzed the side effects faced by people when they took OxyContin from FDA. As per the report, of the 61,249 people, 730 or 1.19 percent reported that they had experienced hallucinations.

3. Paranoid behavior: Many individuals who are dependent on OxyContin show paranoid behavior. For example, they could be under the delusion that somebody is trying to steal their medications. Aggravated emotional responses such as crying for no reason is apparent when one uses OxyContin for long.

4. Depression: Whether one tries to mask pain with prescription drugs or uses the drug to experience the euphoric aftereffects, the most common side effect of abuse is depression. Consistent use depletes the natural feel good hormones existing in the brain and in time, one is dependent on the drug solely to find happiness.

5. Increased isolation: Most people do not like to disclose their drug habits because they are afraid of being judged for their failings. They are also afraid of rehab and the constraints it would place on their drug use. Hence, they tend to become

Time to seek help

For an individual who is battling comorbid disorders, the struggle can be endless. They could feel disheartened when they are unable to overcome the problems no matter how hard they try. Treatment for co-occurring disorders is difficult but not impossible. With timely prognosis and care, one can get free from addiction and mental illness, and regain control of his or her life.

If you or your loved one is grappling with a dual diagnosis condition, it is advisable to seek help at the earliest before matters go out of hand. The Florida Dual Diagnosis Helpline can assist you in finding the best dual diagnosis treatment centers in Florida that specialize in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call at our 24/7 helpline (866) 337-7631 or chat online with a specialist to know more about the dual diagnosis treatment facilities in Florida.

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