Few Doctors Prescribing Most Opioids @ The WSJ; $IPCI

Few Doctors Prescribing Most Opioids @ The WSJ; $IPCI

Intellipharmaceutics International (NASDAQ: IPCI; TSX: I) is engaged in the research, development, and commercialization of controlled-release and targeted-release pharmaceutical products. Controlled-release means releasing a drug into the bloodstream or at a target site in the body, over an extended period of time or at predetermined times. In some circumstances, controlled-release drug delivery can enhance efficacy and patient compliance as compared to immediate release formats for the same drug.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, "31% of the opioid prescriptions in [New York City in 2010] were written by about 530 health-care providers, or 1% of those who prescribe such drugs. Among these prescribers, oxycodone prescriptions skyrocketed 86% between 2008 and 2010. During the past 20 years there has been a ten-fold increase in the use of prescription opioids, commonly known by names such as OxyContin and Vicodin, in the five boroughs. Opioid prescriptions filled by city residents increased by 22%, to more than 2 million, in 2010 versus 2008, the data show."

While some of these prescriptions are being written by well-meaning but ill-informed practitioners, others are being issued by doctors intentionally engaging in wrongful behavior.

Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs, co-chairwoman of the mayor's task force to combat the city's growing prescription drug epidemic, stated,

"In the face of growing opioid abuse, it is critical that we educate providers, pharmacists and patients on the potential dangers of painkiller misuse or overuse."

She continued,

"Strengthening our drug monitoring system will help us work together to both ensure that well-intentioned providers don't inadvertently overprescribe these pills—with potentially dangerous consequences—and that we have the information we need to investigate those who are actively engaging in criminal behavior." Read more at online.wsj.com.

While it is indeed important to monitor how addictive painkillers are being prescribed, it is also important to pursue new treatments that do not pose the same risks. Intellipharmaceutics' Rexista™, now in pre-clinical development, is one such alternative. Rexista™ is an abuse- and alcohol-resistant, controlled-release oral oxycodone formulation. This product is covered by pending patent applications. Rexista™ is a unique dosage form, designed to be resistant to well-documented abuse that is experienced with current oxycodone products. This includes abuse by injection when combined with solvents and by nasal inhalation when crushed or powdered.

Rexista™ is also designed to resist release of the entire dose when consumed with alcohol, a significant problem with some opioid drugs, such as hydromorphone. According to Wolters Kluwer Health, OxyContin® (oxycodone hydrochloride controlled-release tablets) had estimated U.S. sales of approximately US$2.5 billion for the 12 months ending February 2012. OxyContin® currently represents 99% of the US$3 billion oxycodone sustained-release market. Read more about Rexista™ at intellipharmaceutics.com.