The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to pull Opana ER, an opioid painkiller manufactured by the Endo Pharmaceuticals, which they believe has largely contributed to the drug overdose problem in the U.S., reports said Thursday.

FDA said Thursday it has told the company to stop selling the opioid drug, something that the organization has never done before. Citing a reason for the ban, the FDA said the risks from an overdose of the drug outweigh its health benefits.

The company said in a statement it is “reviewing the request and is evaluating the full range of potential options,” the Washington Post reported.

FDA’s decision comes months after families of drug overdose victims took to the streets in front of the Capitol, Washington D.C., in September. They demanded the Congress to provide funding for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.

Anti-Drug Protests Activists and family members of loved ones who died in the opioid/heroin epidemic take part in a 'Fed Up!' rally at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Sept. 18, 2016. Photo: Getty Images/John Moore

Government agencies and state legislatures have also taken steps to limit prescribing opioid drugs, forcing health systems to find alternative treatments for patients looking to effectively treat their chronic pain. Some of the alternative medications and treatments are listed below:

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

If one is looking for an alternative drug to Opioid painkillers, the Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAIDs) drugs are perhaps the first one that most physicians recommend. These drugs including aspirin and ibuprofen, apart from relieving pain, also cure inflammation and reduce fevers. However, since the drug also prevents blood clotting, patients might run the risk of heart strokes, and gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers with prolonged use of the drugs, Athena Insight reported.

Most NSAIDs are available over the counter and hence are readily available and inexpensive.


Acetaminophen is a milder version of Tylenol and can be consumed by patients who are either allergic to NSAIDs or those who suffer from a heart condition or stomach irritation that does not allow them to be dependent on the latter.

Just like NSAIDs, they are also available over the counter. One of the biggest limitations of the drug is the fact that more than 4000mg cannot be consumed within the span of 24 hours, without increasing the risks of acute liver failure.

Tylenol Extra Strength Tylenol is displayed in Washington, D.C., July 5, 2006. Photo: Getty Images/Brendan Smialowski

Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency Ablation is a medical practice that is neither widely practiced nor commonly known. It was first used in 1931 by a physician who used electric currents to decrease pain signals from a specific nerve.

“RFA offers the most precise method currently available” for doctors to "control their patients' pain on a long-term basis," said an expert in a review on Medscape, according to a Safer Lock report.

Medical Marijuana

An increasing number of states are recognizing medical marijuana as an effective alternative to opioid painkillers for treating pain, headaches, nausea, seizures, and Crohn’s disease. It carries with it the least amount of side effects and can be used to treat both chronic physical pain as well as neurological pain.

Many medical dispensaries such as Ermont Inc. in Massachusetts have come up with the idea of infusing daily food products like coffee, honey, olive oil, cupcakes, chocolates and even pizzas with medical marijuana to help the patients, opting for the treatment, consume it without having to smoke it in public, WBUR News reported.

Marijuana Dave Warden, a bud tender at Private Organic Therapy (P.O.T.), a non-profit co-operative medical marijuana dispensary, displays various types of marijuana available to patients in Los Angeles, California, Oct. 19, 2009. Photo: Getty Images/Scott Olson


Acupuncture can be an effective way to deal with pain if a patient suffering from chronic pain and does not wish to take medicated drugs. Acupuncture is a physical therapy that uses needles to stimulate certain pressure points on one’s body. Although the practice of treating pain and nausea by acupuncture is a relatively new practice in Western medicine, it has been widely used the East.

The therapy sends signals to the brain, causing it to release feel-good hormones such as beta-Endorphins that have shown to relieve pain by 50 percent.