Federal health regulators will bolster warning labels on the most widely used prescription painkillers, part a multi-pronged federal effort to reverse an epidemic of abuse and death tied to drugs like Vicodin and Percocet.
The Food and Drug Administration will add a boxed warning — the most serious type — to all immediate-release opioid painkillers, including combination pills containing oxycodone. Those drugs, sold as Vicodin and many generic brands, are consistently among the most prescribed drugs in the U.S.
The long-awaited move comes roughly three years after the FDA added the same warnings to long-acting opioid drugs like OxyContin, which slowly release their dose over 12 hours or more. The labeling switch means both drug types will now carry bold warnings about the risks of abuse, overdose and death.