Opioids Agonist Drugs Global Market Analysis 2018-2026

Posted September 17, 2019 by psaraf

Opioids are generally prescribed for treating pain. The opioid drug class includes morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, heroin, codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and methadone.
Opioid drugs act on the opioid receptors present in the central and peripheral nervous system. The drug class primarily used in relieving pain includes natural, semi-synthetic, and synthetic opioids. Codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, heroin, and fentanyl are some of the major prescription drugs in the global opioids agonist drugs market. Opioids can be administered as oral pills, parenteral, liquids, patches, or lozenges.

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Overdose and drug abuse is a major concern for health regulators worldwide, with the situation especially alarming in developed regions with easy access to these drugs. According to the World Drug Report 2016, a staggering 17.4 million people were affected by opioid drug abuse. Drug and health regulators are therefore, taking initiatives to govern pain prescriptions and curb the rate of opioid abuse. The U.S. FDA considers all opioids as schedule 2 drugs—drugs that have high abuse potential. In 2016, the CDC issued guidelines to prescribe opioids, limiting the daily dose of opioids to 90 morphine milligram equivalent (MME).

Market Dynamics

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates published in 2015 by the American Pain Society, nearly 50 million people in the U.S. suffered from chronic pain. Use of opioids in cancer pain, orthopedic pain, neuropathic pain, post-operative pain, and lower back pain is very effective. With growing incidence of chronic pain, demand for opioids will also increase consequently.

North America is the largest market for opioids owing to availability of branded prescription and local products, which inadvertently also leads to drug abuse. There are local unbranded products available for every opioid derivative complementing the available prescription opioid brand. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 73% of all drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2015 were due to opioids (57% in 2010). Moreover, emergence of cannabis as an alternative to opioids and legalization of the same in various regions is inhibiting the opioids market growth.

Increasing prevalence of chronic pain is expected to drive the opioids market growth

According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine (2011), the number of people who suffered from chronic pain was around 1.8 billion. Moreover, according to the NIH estimates (2015), one in 10 people in the U.S. suffer from chronic pain. Around one-third to half of the population in the U.K. suffers from chronic pain, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2016. Opioids are commonly used for treating pain, and opioid containing drugs are being misused or are being consumed in overdose when patients follow self-medication. Moreover, rising prevalence of pain, cough and, diarrhea are other factors driving growth of the opioids agonist drugs market. The highly prescribed opioid in the U.S. is hydrocodone.

Opioids market majorly impacted by rising adoption of cannabis

The global opioids market experiences volatility due to various factors such as rampant production of opium and inclination of the masses towards use of alternate drugs such as cannabis. Cannabis is now being legalized in most parts of the U.S.—the major consumer of cannabis drug. Moreover, cannabis is the most cultivated drug crop in the world.

Also, consumers in the U.S. find administering cannabis more effective than opioids, which is also impacting consumption of opioids. Due to this, Colorado is experiencing a decline in the number of opioid deaths. Cannabis is considered to be a healthy alternative to opioids. U.S. accounted for 77% share in the global opioids market in 2015. A study conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia, found that 32% of Canadians switched from using opioids to cannabis for relieving pain. Production of opium according to the World Drug Report 2016 declined in 2015 by 38% compared to that in 2014.

Increasing drug abuse impacting the opioids agonist drugs market outlook

The U.S. FDA considers all opioids as schedule 2 drugs—drugs that have high abuse potential. Codeine, fentanyl, meperidine, methadone, morphine, and hydrocodone are the most abused prescription opioid analgesics. Contrary to other regions, wherein codeine is expected to dominate the market globally, North America is expected to be primarily driven by sales of hydrocodone opioids. Drug abuse with opioid is characterized by prolonged use or overdosing of the prescribed medication.

A 2015 study by the CDC concluded that people who are addicted to prescription analgesics are 40 times more likely to be addicted to heroin. Furthermore, CDC also states that 73% of all drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2015 were due to opioids (57% in 2010). Although the use of prescription opioid for non-medical purpose has decreased over 2012–2014, use of heroin has increased significantly during this period.

The deaths accounted due to opioid abuse has also increased consequently over the years. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 2015 data, there was a 2.8 fold increase in deaths in the U.S. due to overdose of opioid during 2002–2014. The death incidence rose to nearly 33,000 in 2015 from 23,000 in 2012 in the U.S. Similarly, non-prescription use of cough syrups containing codeine is also a major issue to be addressed.

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Last Updated September 17, 2019