In the past year, prescription drug labeling has increasingly been criticized, as experts call for reformatting and new language.
Now, a group of nearly 40 doctors, researchers and public health officials are petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to adopt more stringent labeling requirements for narcotic painkillers. The new requirements, if put in place, would eliminate their approval for "moderate" pain and limit the time period for taking to no more than 90 days for pain unrelated to cancer.
The move was spurred by the increasingly commonplace prescription of painkillers such as Oxycontin or fentanyl to treat long-term, non-cancer pain. Individuals taking these medications are more susceptible to addiction and potential overdose.
"By implementing the label changes proposed in this petition, FDA has an opportunity reduce harm caused to chronic pain patients as well as societal harm caused by diversion of prescribed opioids," the petition states.
Lawmakers have joined with physicians. Last week, members of the House proposed legislation aimed at growing prescription drug abuse, Reuters reports. It would implement new safegauards.