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But Storey said he was still concerned about the other painkillers ordered off the market, products containing morphine, hydromorphone or oxycodone.
While approved medications with those ingredients remain on the market, Storey noted that opiate painkillers are in short supply. So rather than removing the unapproved versions all at once, exacerbating the problem, he suggested the FDA proceed more slowly.
In a letter to the FDA earlier this week, Storey's organization said the painkillers covered by last week's order "have been used safely and effectively for decades."
Throckmorton said the FDA is open to getting additional information about the other painkillers, and would discuss them with experts in hospice and palliative care.
But Storey said that in a later phone call with physicians and pharmacists, the FDA said that the order against the other painkillers would stand.
Further shortfalls in painkiller supply could spell trouble for chronic pain patients such as 62-year-old Ora Chaikin in New York City, said her physician, Dr. R. Sean Morrison at Mount Sinai.
Chaikin takes an unapproved version of the drug Dilaudid -- hydromorphone -- when her joint pain flares, which is typically on most days. She said she needs that medication "just to be able to walk, to be able to do daily activities (like) putting a coat on."
Although approved versions of the drug are available, the FDA order makes Morrison worry about their supply.
"It's already hard to get them," he said.
On the Net:
FDA statement on original order
FDA background information
FDA Web page on unapproved drugs
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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