Pfizer's Troxyca ER has been approved in the US for the management of pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment and for which alternative treatment options are inadequate.

The drug uses technology which should discourage tampering associated with prescription opioid misuse and abuse, and is the only oxycodone with abuse-deterrent features described in the labelling.

It consists of extended-release oxycodone pellets that surround a sequestered core of naltrexone; when the pellets are crushed, the naltrexone is released to counteract the effects of oxycodone.

Data from a Phase III trial in 2012 showed that Troxyca is as safe as other opioids on the market, the most common side effects being headache, nausea, vomiting and constipation.

Misuse of prescription opioids remains a serious and persistent issue in the US. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, 1.9 million people in the country had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers in 2014, while four in five new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers, highlighting the scope of the problem.