What are ADFs?
Abuse-deterrent formulations, also known as ADFs, represent an innovation in medicine that is designed to help deter the abuse of certain controlled medications, such as opioids. ADFs are designed to make it more difficult for a pill to be manipulated, which users may do in order to snort, dissolve or inject the medication.
ADFs are designed to help preserve the original formulation of a medication, be it immediate release or extended release, which is transformed when a pill is cut or crushed. While ADFs don’t prevent manipulation, they make it much more difficult. Manipulation of prescribed medication is generally associated with serious outcomes, including the potential for overdose or death. ADFs may interrupt that trajectory.
Multiple opioids are available in FDA approved abuse deterrent formulations.
Who uses them?
ADFs are designed to support physicians who prescribe and patients who rely on controlled medications to manage pain, as they diminish the desirability of a medication for an abuser who is looking to crush or otherwise manipulate a pill.
ADFs may be attractive for providers who know their patients live in an “active” household, that for example, includes children or guest workers, or otherwise presents opportunities for someone to abuse the prescribed medication.