Should Potent Pain Medication OxyContin Be Prescribed to Children?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the use of the potent pain medication OxyContin for children as young as 11 years of age. Oxycontin, an extended-release version of the opioid drug oxycodone, is used to manage severe, chronic conditions, including osteoarthritis and cancer-related pain. 

According to the FDA, the drug may be prescribed only to pediatric patients who are already responding to and tolerating a minimum opioid dose equal to at least 20 mg of oxycodone per day. This is to ensure the patient can tolerate the medication and the prescribing physician knows the appropriate dosage for that patient.

The Doctors discuss this controversial decision, and the debate gets heated between OB-GYN Dr. Jennifer Ashton and ER physician Dr. Travis Stork:

Dr. Travis argues with the increasing rise of prescription drug addiction in the United States, it might be unwise for physicians to prescribe such potent medications to children who potentially could become dependent on them. 

Dr. Ashton counters that denying patients potentially life-changing treatment out of fear of future addiction would be unfair.

Family medicine physician Dr. Rachael Ross notes that prior to this decision, pediatric pain management specialists had few options to offer their patients.

Watch as the debate continues. Plus, hear what the FDA has to say about their decision: