Regardless of whether we are seeing an injured worker suffering from a trauma to his or her arm, leg, neck, back, shoulder or any other part of the body, the common thing we are seeing is pain. Often, this is a chronic, unrelenting, pain. These are usually the cases when surgery either has been attempted and has not been successful, or when the doctors do not feel surgery would relieve the pain. Frequently, the only way to even take the edge off this excruciating pain is by taking pain-relieving medications, often narcotics.
One of the more “popular” narcotic medications used in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation matters is OxyCodone (OxyContin). The manufacturer of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma, has recently developed three new dosage strengths. These three new dosage levels now make a total of seven dosage strengths of OxyContin. In theory, this makes prescribing the proper dosage for every injured worker much easier.
With more usage of OxyCodone, and OxyContin, comes more abuse. Unfortunately for those injured workers who actually need this type of pain medication for relief, many people are using such drugs recreationally. Purdue Pharma has attempted to change the type of the OxyContin tablet, to make it less “useful” for recreational use, but so far, the FDA has not approved the changes. According to this article, there were 42.2 million prescriptions written last year for Oxycodone.