Depsite concerns over the drug's addictive nature, the Food and Drug Administration has approved the opiate painkiller OxyContin for use in children ages 11 to 16.
The drug will be used in much the same way it is for adults – to treat severe chronic pain.
Reseachers and the drug company proved to the FDA that the drug is able to be safely used in young patients. The drug will only be perscribed to patients who already recieve and tolerate a 20 mg dose of oxycodone, the active ingredient.
“This program was intended to fill a knowledge gap and provide experienced health care practitioners with the specific information they need to use OxyContin safely in pediatric patients,” Sharon Hertz, an FDA drug division director, wrote in an online post.
Only one other opiod – a patch that releases fentanyl – is approved for use in children.