When I first heard about the approval, my thoughts went to drug-seeking adults. Will they be using their children to try and get narcotics for their own use? Unfortunately, this happens, and it can be one of the sadder aspects of working in medicine. I then thought about myself in this scenario: I realized that if parents came into the emergency department requesting Oxycontin for their child, I would not give it to them. In emergency medicine, we are unable to closely monitor these medications, and we don’t routinely see cases of terminally ill children. This means we aren’t in a situation in which we would need to prescribe pain medications to these children, which appeases my concern about drug-seeking parents.

With all this in mind, the decision to approve OxyContin for a younger age group doesn’t really bother me. I realize that this decision will not be affecting my use of this medication in the emergency department, and it has created a safer situation for children who are already receiving this medication. And if something can be done to create a safer situation for a suffering child, I will agree to that.

Jillian Knowles, MMS, PA-C, works as an emergency medicine physician assistant in the Philadelphia area.

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1. CEDR Conversation: Pediatric pain management options. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/NewsEvents/ucm456973.htm. Accessed 18 August 2015.

This article originally appeared on Clinical Advisor