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Tamper-proof OxyContin® tablets Information from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services has issued new information and advice regarding the use of OxyContin® tablets.

Since the introduction of the tamper-resistant formulation of OxyContin® tablets in April 2014 the manufacturer reported a very significant decline in the overall number of units of OxyContin® supplied in Victoria. The Department of Health & Human Services has noted a dramatic decrease in the number of forged prescription reports for OxyContin®; and many medical practitioners noted that some long-term users of OxyContin® sought to be transferred to alternative medications or formulations. It is thought that some patients who sought to be transferred to alternative options have done so with the intention of reselling or tampering with the product.

DHHS has issued the following recommendations:

Recommended actions

  1. If any of your patients were transferred to alternative medications, especially at their request, when the tamper-resistant formulation of OxyContin® was introduced, please reconsider that decision with the benefit of hindsight.
  2.  If you intend to prescribe long-acting oxycodone and wish to ensure that the medication can only be supplied in a tamper-resistant formulation, you should take care to issue your prescription in a manner that precludes the dispensing pharmacist from supplying the recently introduced “generic alternative”, which is not a tamper-resistant formulation but which became a Pharmaceutical Benefit on 1 December 2014.

Note: To ensure that the pharmacist supplies oxycodone in a tamper-resistant long-acting formulation, please implement one of the following options:

  • specify the OxyContin® brand name on prescriptions (now only available in the tamper-resistant formulation) AND tick the “Do Not Substitute” box and/or endorse the prescription with the words “do not substitute” OR
  • prescribe the oxycodone preparation that contains naloxone, which should deter injection of the medication

Additional information is available here.

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