Experts Warn Against the Approval of New Opioid Drug
FOX News reports that a group of experts is pushing the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revoke its approval of a new, highly addictive painkiller.
Properties of Zohydro
Zohydro, which is to become available to patients suffering from chronic pain this coming March, is a hydrocodone-based medication that falls into the opioid analgesics family of drugs.
As Opioid analgesics are scientifically proven to be highly addictive, experts are primarily concerned with the potential for the drug to be misused.
The FDA began to require that opioid painkillers include a black box warning last September due to the substantial risks posed by the drugs.
Controversy Surrounding Zohydro and Opioid Painkillers
In a letter to the FDA defending their position against the approval of Zohydro, FED UP! – a group of healthcare, consumer, and addiction rehabilitation professionals – pointed to the rising epidemic of drug abuse in the United States that has been heavily fueled by the growth in opioid prescriptions.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease control, nearly three out of every four prescription drug overdoses are caused bay opioid painkillers with 14,800 overdose deaths attributed to prescription painkillers in 2008 alone – more than cocaine and heroin combined.
Despite these numbers sales for strong prescription painkillers have continued to boom, increasing by 300% since 1999.
The FDA has defended its approval of the drug, stating that its benefits in soothing chronic pain outweigh its costs.
Zohydro is set to be sold with printed warnings regarding its addictive properties and the potential for misuse. Doctors, however, are still skeptical about the approval.
Dr. Chrles Reznikoff, of the Hennepin County Medical Center stated that the drug manufacturers possessed the technology to make the pill safer for use, but chose not to utilize it. He went on to say that he would advise insurance companies not to make Zohydro available to patients.