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article Topix Pharmaceuticals, one of the world’s biggest drugsmakers, says it is changing how it uses the powerful painkiller Opana for its customers.
The drug is now the only drug in the world it will use in patients who have not been treated with an opioid for a significant period of time.
Topix has just started using Opana in Australia and New Zealand, with a national trial planned for the US.
“Opana is an innovative, safe, and cost-effective treatment for chronic pain,” the company said in a statement.
“The most recent data shows Opana has a significant benefit in reducing pain, improving quality of life and reducing the likelihood of hospitalisation.”
It also said it has used Opana safely for people who had been on opioids for a long time.
The company said it did not know of any deaths associated with Opana.
The drugs mainstay, morphine, was banned in Australia last year, but the move to move away from it was seen as a positive by some users.
But Opana is not the only opioid that has been on the market in recent years.
Other drugs that are often used for severe pain include fentanyl, ketamine and the opiate hydromorphone.
The former is a sedative with a low risk of addiction, while the latter is more potent and addictive.
While the opioid epidemic is on the rise, the opioid painkiller market is actually expected to grow.
It has grown by 30 per cent to $8.4 billion in 2016, according to the Australian Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority.
“There’s definitely a bit of growth, but it’s going to be hard to see that grow to the size that it’s projected to,” Professor Ian Richardson from the Institute of Public Health and the Director of the School of Public Policy at Monash University said.
“I think the big drivers of that are more of the pain drugs are still being used, but if you look at a more comprehensive picture of the opioid market, it is not growing very fast, and the number of people dying of pain is not increasing very fast.”
Opana, or Lofex, is also a relatively new drug, and its makers are taking it slow to see how it works.
“Our main objective is to see if it works and then we see how people respond to it and then if it does, we can go and do more clinical trials,” Professor Richardson said.
Opana was approved in 2014.
In the last few months, the company has made more than $3.5 billion in sales, according the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Topick, which also manufactures Opana and is in the process of relocating to Australia, said its data showed Opana had a “great safety record” and “an extensive range of available analgesics”.
It said its drug would help to reduce the number and severity of serious adverse events, including heart attacks and strokes, as well as the need for hospitalisation.
“For patients who need opana, the safest way to use it is to avoid long-term use for at least six months and stop if symptoms improve,” the Australian drug company said.
The data also showed that Opana could reduce the risk of hospitalisations in patients with heart conditions.
“Patients who take Opana are not at risk of sudden cardiac arrest or sudden death,” the drug company added.
Dr Peter O’Reilly, a senior lecturer in the University of Sydney School of Pharmacy, said that while there were some concerns about Opana’s long- term safety, it was a safe drug.
“People tend to forget that opioids are a class of drugs, and they are not necessarily the best choice for everybody,” he said.
Dr O’ Reilly said it was important to remember that patients who are taking opana do not have to stay on the drug for more than six months.
“But there are a number of risks associated with the use of opana and these include the possibility of overdose, serious liver damage, and increased risk of death,” he added.
What you need to know about opioids: What you really need to read about: How opioids work What you can do to protect yourself from a drug overdose: Key points: Opana will be the first drug to be prescribed in Australia in the UK after the Brexit vote and will be introduced in Australia next year, with trials to start in 2019, according Opana says.
Dr Richardson said the company had been cautious about prescribing Opana until now.
“If you are going to prescribe a drug in Australia, you would need to make sure that you have a clinical trial that is going to confirm that you are able to take the drug safely