Here is the link to the MSN report on this decision by a panel of experts advising the FDA on the Acetaminophen issues, including, but not limited to, banning Vicoden & Percocet.http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/31664450/ns/health-more_health_news/?ns=health-more_health_news
The link to the notes from the FDA panel are available at:http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/Calendar/ucm143083.htm
To provide feedback to the FDA about
these recommendations, you can go to the FDA's website through September 30, 2009 and post comments. Here is that website:http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/InformationbyDrugClass/ucm165107.htm
I do think we need to be cognizant of the facts surrounding this issue. First, on April 28, 2009, the FDA approved a new regulation requiring additional labeling on OTC acetaminophen products warning of the dangers of overdose, combination with various prescript
ion drugs (not only narcotics, but other meds like warafin) & combination with alcohol.
The panel addresses a number of issues, but the topics it addresses do not seem to be the ones referenced here. Abuse does not refer to addiction, but rather to those taking it to attempt suicide, which results in half of the serious cases of acetaminophen overdose cases in the U.S. The other half of the cases the panel labels as "unintentional overdoses" where the user was not aware that there was acetaminophen in the product. Their goal in pulling prescript
ion products with acet. in them is to force patients to have 2 prescript
ions to where they would be more likely to realize that they are consuming both the narcotic & acet.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, they discuss that they feel that an educational campaign would be prohibitively expensive. They tried a small campaign in 2004 & it had almost no effect.
I only mention these issues b/c if we are to write letters that have any chance of making a difference, I think they need to address the actual concerns of the FDA. It appears that addicts abusing vicoden/percocet is not a concern of the FDA at this point. Honestly, I'm not really sure how educating the American public could be made cost effective. Americans seem unbelievably careless with OTC meds. The vast majority of stores where those meds are sold have a licensed pharmacist on staff, yet many people do not discuss those issues even with a pharmacist.
Really, the only thing I can even think of that might work is implementing the same policy that was implemented with the Sudafed type drugs. The moved them behind the pharmacy counter. Maybe then pharmacists could offer counseling to every patient who purchases OTC meds with acet. in them. I don't know. I'm kinda with all of you. I'm tired of stupid people making it harder for those who really need treatment for CP. Between the stupid people who want pain meds just "to relax", crazy people who say things like "I wish I could get surgical anesthetic every night so I could sleep" -- MJ certainly wasn't the first time I ever heard someone say something like that, dumb people who refuse to consult with their doctors or pharmacists b/c they would rather self-treat, etc., etc., etc. I am starting to feel that maybe refusing everyone access to any of these meds really may be the only option to keep stupid people from accidentally killing themselves. UUUUGGGHH! So frustrating! I feel for you all. Fortunately, this round I'm safe with my meds (I have an extensive family history of cirrhosis so I avoid all acet. products like the plague), but I imagine the stupid people will find a way to ruin my meds given the chance so I figure it's just a matter of time. :(