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FDA Approval of New Painkiller Causes Uproar

A coalition of 40 healthcare, consumers and addiction treatment groups are crying out over the FDA’s approval of a potent new painkiller known as Zohydro.  Zohydro, like many other prescription painkillers, contains hydrocodone and can become extremely addictive.  The FDA approved the drug last year, but it is set to become available to consumers next month.  Given reports from the Centers for Disease Control that prescription opioid deaths have quadrupled since 1999, concern over the availability of Zohydro seems appropriate and timely.

Zohydro Five Times More Potent Than OxyContin

Zohydro is five to ten times more potent than similar opioid prescription painkillers, making it a likely culprit for abuse.  However, the drug’s maker, Zogenix, claims that Zohydro’s benefits outweigh its risks.  The drug was specifically approved to be used for chronic pain sufferers, and some experts such as Paul Gileno, founder and president of the U.S. Pain Foundation, argue that this group isn’t likely to abuse their prescription painkillers.  Rather, they are just looking for pain relief so that they can lead normal lives.  What is problematic is that Zogenix may follow in the footsteps of its sister pharmaceutical companies by expanding clinical trials from chronic pain to a myriad of other pain-inducing illnesses and conditions.

Zohydro an FDA-Approved Recipe for Death?

Some are calling Zohydro an FDA-approved prescription for addiction and death.  In fact, one tablet contains enough hydrocodone to kill a child, and two tablets could lead to overdose in an adult not used to opioid painkillers.  Furthermore, concerns have arisen over the fact that Zohydro can be easily crushed, lending itself to rampant abuse.  Although there are advocates for Zohydro’s use in treating chronic pain, some doctors say that opiates are a lousy method of treating this condition.  Opioids are generally a good method of easing pain and suffering at the end of life but are not good for long-term use, which can lead to tolerance and the need for higher and higher doses.  Finally, taking prescription opioids can actually make chronic pain worse, a condition called hyperalgesia.  If you’re concerned about the approval of Zohydro and its release on the market in March, you can call your U.S. Senator and ask them for an investigation of the FDA’s approval process of the drug, and if you’re in the Washington, D.C. area you can join the Fed Up! rally on September 28, 2014 where you can speak out against the FDA’s perpetual support of the prescription drug industry’s manufacturing of prescription opioids over consumers’ best interests.



  1. Gravatar for Fred Olenick
    Fred Olenick

    The drug makers keep making big $$ by pushing new drugs. I invest in them and make big $$ for me. Is this ethical!

  2. Gravatar for Patsy Ogden
    Patsy Ogden

    There is so much talk about abuse, but little about those of us who try everyday to live as normal a life as possible through unending pain. For me it has been years of living with it 24 hrs., seven days a week. Pain killing meds only take the edge of and never have I abused my doctors orders. In fact, I tend to take less than prescribed because of the fear I will need more and more. What do all of you who don't have chronic legitimate pain issues suggest I do...take the edge off the pain so I can function or endure unending pain, the inability to walk because of it or maybe commit suicide because the pain takes over every waking moment and life has no quality anymore?

    And, yes I know about the abuse because of having experienced it with family members. However, cant; there be an answer without harming those of us who really need help?

    Our country has an epidemic of destructive behavior going on - violence and disrespect for everyone and everything. It's my opinion that we try to hard to make rules and legislation which doesn't fix the problem it just puts more people in jail. Morality and healthful living cant; be legislated.

    And just to make it clear that I am familiar with the "it will kill you side", I am. I lost my first born child in a drug related accident. That doesn't make me want to deny the thousands of legitimate opiate users relief enough to make living and waking up to sunlight in the morning worth it.

  3. Gravatar for john doe
    john doe

    its ok for or government to make an sell drugs or alcohol, but its not ok for the people everything is all corrupted and it starts with the people loading there pockets, keep on keeping on your good people thank you so much for the millions of tears you and other bring the nation

  4. Gravatar for Jane Doe
    Jane Doe

    Thank you Patsy, you took the words right out of my mouth. I too lost a child but it was to an alcohol related accident. But I sure don't see anyone stopping the purchase of alcohol so no one dies?! I live in pain 24 hrs. a day 7 days a week and am told I can not have the medications that allow me to live a productive life day to day with out being monitored, refused the dosage of med. that has worked for me up until this Dr. says the "law"??says I can't have it??!! I don't wish the pain I have on anyone but I wish these professionals would experience for 1 day the pain I have every day just to understand how I live from day to day. I also do not abuse my med's and that has been documented by Dr.'s I have had in the past. I do not use alcohol or street drugs, but yet I am the one that pays the price because of the people who do abuse the system. Something ain't right !!! Oh yes, lets not forget the new laws that make marijuana legal and I agree will help many people, but at the same time will pad the pockets of so many, but I do not want to be fuzzy in the head all the time I just want to be able to not hurt and live a normal life!!! Nothing I have said here will change anything but I do feel better now!! Thanks again Patsy for giving me the courage to say what I needed to say and God bless you and everyone else who knows what we are saying!!

  5. Gravatar for Barry Novick
    Barry Novick

    I couldnt agree more with Patsy and the other chronic pain respondents. When I heard about this new drug coming out that might help me I got excited not scared. I currently am taking 30 mg oxycontin ER twice daily and yes it only takes the edge off and sometimes not even that. I already had extensive thoracic surgery which has me using a walker and canes at age 62. I have had many injections, the most recent last week which is bringing some relief to the pain I have in my legs. My lumbar injury causes so much paid. What I would give to have an hour or two of no pain. My doctor wants to implant a pump in my stomach with connections inside my back somewhere where morphine can be applied. I really dont like the idea of a box in my stomach and having to visit regularly to have the pump refilled. My doctor is scheduling an appt for me with a surgeon who also is a proponent of the pump so he can offer as unbiased an opinion as possible whether I should risk lumbar surgery, if it is even possible or walking with the pump. How I wish I could get better relief, if surgery is not a viable option, from oral medication which might help more than the Oxycontin I am currently taking. It puzzles me how many people are more interested in potential abuse than the purpose of the medication,other than profits for pharmaceutical companies bringing relief to what I can only imagine our thousands and thousands of fellow sufferers. Like mentioned by others, spend a day in my world when you are in so much pain you delay even getting up to take your meds, or go to the bathroom, mailbox, patio, car play with my puppies, etc. I am afraid if and when available my doctors were not prescribe to me. May God help us all.

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