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Article updated: 12/10/2012 10:13 AM

Acura Pharmaceuticals launches next generation cold medicine

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Palatine-based Acura Pharmaceuticals launched Nexafed pseudoephedrine hydrochloride, a 30 mg immediate-release next generation pseudoephedrine product, combining effective nasal-congestion relief with a unique technology that disrupts the conversion of pseudoephedrine into the dangerous drug, methamphetamine.

Nexafed is available to national and regional drug wholesalers and will be available to pharmacies soon. It is the second of two products to reach the market that utilize Acura's abuse-deterrent technologies.

"The launch of Nexafed is a significant milestone for Acura and in the continued fight against meth in the U.S.," said Robert B. Jones, president and chief executive officer of Acura Pharmaceuticals. "Acura is highly committed to addressing the needs of local communities by investing in the development of abuse-deterrent technologies and medicines. It's not about innovating once, but continuing to improve on the technology without compromising efficacy."

Nexafed will deliver the same cold and allergy relief they have come to rely on -- but with the added benefit of disrupting possible methamphetamine production, the company said in a release.

Pseudoephedrine, a decongestant used in some cold and allergy medicines, is the primary ingredient converted during illegal methamphetamine production. Unlike other cold and allergy pseudoephedrine products, Nexafed is the only medicine that utilizes Acura's Impede technology, a unique polymer matrix that disrupts the extraction and conversion of pseudoephedrine to methamphetamine. If abusers try to extract the pseudoephedrine out of Nexafed to make methamphetamine, the inactive ingredients in the polymer matrix will form a thick gel to block that extraction and disrupt conversion of pseudoephedrine to methamphetamine.

"The introduction of cold and allergy products with abuse-deterrent technologies is a significant step forward for communities across the country affected by the debilitating effects of meth production," said Priscilla Lisicich, executive director of Safe St. located in Tacoma, Wash. and former co-chair of the National Methamphetamine Training and Technical Assistance Center. "A medicine that deters meth production without compromising efficacy will ensure people have access to the medicines that they need."

Methamphetamine production and abuse is a serious problem that has become increasingly common in communities across the U.S. In 2011, Last year, more than 10,000 clandestine labs were found in the U.S., triggering environmental hazards and requiring expensive and timely cleanup by local governments.In addition to environmental hazards, the economic cost of methamphetamine use in the U.S. -- estimated at $23.4 billion in 2005 -- is staggering, accounting for the burden of addiction and drug treatment, according to the company.

"We hope the availability of Nexafed empowers pharmacists to impact meth abuse at a local level by stocking and recommending the product," said Jones.

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