This past week I worked in one of my usual pharmacy locations -- a nice area, nice clinic. I could not BELIEVE how many C-2's we blew through on this one day. Percocet, oxycodone, MS Contin and Oxycontin by the shovel full. In fact we blew through our entire stock of one strength of Oxycontin and all of our oxycodone 5's.
In no way am I suggesting there are people who don't need these medications to have a reasonable quality of life. But I gotta believe the prescribing of Oxycontin has gotten way out of hand. We are forced to increase our stock more and more and it becomes a safety issue considering it's the target of so many pharmacy robberies.
I recall when Oxycontin first came out, and it was clear that it was heavy stuff. It was no trivial pain med and would probably be mainly for people towards the end of life with intractable pain who would otherwise be in the hospital getting a continuous IV drip. This oral form of the drug might help them remain at home and productive --- a good thing. I went back and reviewed the package insert the other day and was surprised to read it is indicated for "moderate to severe pain when a continuous, around-the-clock analgesic is needed for an extended period of time."
MODERATE pain ???? Seriously? And how do we define "extended" period of time?
I'm dispensing this drug all the time to young people -- people with migraines, back pain, knee pain, post-op pain --- all things that it clearly wasn't intended for. Again, I know medicine isn't black and white and every situation's different. But knowing the med history of many of my customers I am often stunned when they present the first Oxycontin script. I want to ask them if they really want to go down that road. What's the long-term plan here?
The other thing that disturbed me that day was walking into the pharmacy and seeing a pad of $60 coupons for Oxycontin! Wow, coupons for a C-2. I honestly don't recall ever seeing that before. Cripes, that's all we need.
And still another thing occurred the day before where (due to a lack of diligence) we allowed someone to pay cash for their Oxycontin script. The whole thing was fishy from the beginning and to make a long story short, we realized we got scammed.....
I'm kind of tired of it, as all pharmacists get tired of being the police. But the damn drug is so out there, and we're ordering bottles and bottles and bottles...............
And please, no coupons.