Opioids With Abuse-Deterrent

Purdue has been a leader in medical advancements for pain management and a pioneer in the research of opioids with abuse-deterrent properties. Purdue was the first company to introduce opioids with abuse-deterrent properties through development of novel formulations and abuse deterrence studies. Opioids with abuse-deterrent properties won’t stop all abuse, but they’re a responsible place to start.

For more than 30 years, Purdue has developed prescription opioid analgesics to alleviate the pain experienced by millions of people. As a pharmaceutical leader in pain medicine, we are acutely aware of the public health risks these powerful medications create, especially when they are diverted, misused, and/or abused. That’s why we work with health experts, law enforcement, and government agencies on efforts to reduce the risks of opioid abuse and misuse without reducing appropriate pain treatment. As one approach to the complex problem of opioid abuse, pain medicines with abuse-deterrent properties can make a difference.

The Importance of Developing Formulations With Abuse-Deterrent Properties

Since 2001, Purdue scientists have been working to develop novel formulations and reformulations of opioid agonists with abuse-deterrent properties. These medications are designed to provide patients with pain relief when taken as directed while also deterring abuse by snorting and injection.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cites the development of opioids with abuse-deterrent properties as one potentially important step in helping to deter prescription opioid abuse and misuse.1 The science of abuse deterrence is relatively new, and the formulation technologies and the analytical, clinical, and statistical methods for evaluating those technologies are rapidly evolving.1

The research and development of opioid analgesics with abuse-deterrent properties is intended to help deter the abuse, misuse, and diversion of these prescription pain medications—while ensuring that patients in pain continue to have appropriate access to these important therapies.1

  • Even if an opioid risk assessment indicates that a patient has low risk for abuse, diversion of the prescribed analgesic is still a concern2
  • Nearly 68% of abusers who take prescription analgesics for non-medical use get them from friends or family members—either by stealing or buying the Rx drugs, or by someone giving them away for free2

Although there is no technology or formulation that can prevent all abuse of opioids, the availability of prescription opioids with abuse-deterrent properties is an important advancement toward the goal of providing responsible pain management for appropriate patients.1


  1. US Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). US Department of Health and Human Services. Guidance for Industry: Abuse-Deterrent Opioids—Evaluation and Labeling. Rockville, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; 2015.
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H‑48, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 14‑4863. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014.

The prescription and illicit opioid abuse crisis is a multifaceted public health challenge, and as a manufacturer of prescription opioids, we have a responsibility to join the fight. At Purdue we are committed to lead our industry in helping address our nation's prescription and illicit opioid abuse crisis.

There is more to come – as we continue to work with partners and experts to deliver solutions. Below you will find additional information about our efforts.

Read our open letter about the opioid crisis.