New Painkiller Zohydro At Heart Of Major Controversy

    February 28, 2014
    Toni Matthews-El
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There is no doubt that the proper dosage and usage of medication can go a long way towards helping individuals who suffer from conditions such as depression and anxiety. Even dangerously psychotic conditions that could lead persons to harm themselves or others can be greatly improved with the right medication.

When a person is suffering from physical pain that is simply too much for over-the-counter medicine, prescription strength solutions are also available.

However, a problem arises when medication prescribed for various conditions has the potential to be abused or to cause more harm than good to the patient. The abuse of prescribed drugs along side entirely illegal drugs is a serious problem for the United States today.

A new prescription painkiller is feared to not only potentially contribute to this ongoing problem, some medical professionals think it has the potential to be the most disastrous prescription drug approved to date. That is the fundamental argument in a letter to Margret Hamburg, commissioner at the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The letter was written by a group of doctors who came together to voice their concerns about the drug Zohydro ER. Their argument against the drug’s approval is said to “echo” that of members of Congress and State Attorneys General.

Zohydro is an opiate that packs 5 to 10 times the power of Vicodin. It is also, according to various legal and medical experts, far too dangerous a substance for the FDA to have gifted its seal of approval.

There is already concern about the number of opiates being subscribed to patients in the United States. The letter touched on the startling fact that while Americans account for 5% of the global population, the country is consuming the vast majority of the world’s opiate-based prescription drugs— anywhere from 84 to 99% in some cases.

But Zohydro is a new beast all together. If a person has never taken opioids in their life and they accidentally overdose on Zohydro, it would only take TWO pills to kill them. If a small child accidentally swallowed a Zohydro pill, the single dose would be fatal.

When a drug is that potent and that lethal, it is seriously questionable that the FDA would allow it to be sold legally to American citizens.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

  • karen

    come on are you kidding me? Kill a baby?? REally Give me a break there are more potent drugs on the market and they are the ones the junkies are getting their hands on. This is more about Senator Manchin and his daughter who is the CEO of Mylan and produces many opiods It has to do with share price You have now idea what you are talking about and you sound uneducated when it comes to drugs Leave it to the doctors Media is doing more harm than good Lets move all pain relievers over to schedule 11 and this would solve a lot of our problems Stop blaming one company for the damage all the others have done

  • Michael Schubert

    What about Mylan’s Extended Release Morphine 200mg (no abuse-deterrent)? With your math, 1 of those pills could kill TWO people. How many people could a fentanyl patch kill if opened and abused? No outcry over those, only the weakest extended release opiate on the market. Sen Manchin’s #2 campaign contributor is Mylan, and his daughter is their CEO. Mylan also markets Hydrocodone/APAP (Mylan’s #1 in sales) and Oxycodone. This is becoming more and more about drug companies afraid of losing market share to a tiny company like Zogenix. It is shameful that people believe criminal addicts need to be protected from themselves before legitimate patients like myself. I guess these people would rather have us go on disability then take a medicine that lets us live and work productively.

  • David D

    What a low quality article. Total lack of any research. Even pronounced both the drug and manufacturer wrong. Sad!
    Facts: 1. Zohydro contains the exact same opioid drug as Vicodin.
    2. Zohydro is an extended time-release version of Vicodin without the secondary APAP drug contained in Vicodin (which actually degrades a persons liver.) Vicodin is an instant release drug. Zohydro is not. Thus each tablet contains slightly more than a Vicodin because it lasts longer.
    3. Thus mg-mg, Zohydro is actually safer than Vicodin or any other opioid on the market.
    4.Zohdro is a Schedule 2 drug vs Vicodin which is a Schedule 3 drug. Zohydro is under much stricter control than any existing Schedule 3 drug such as Vicodin.
    The real issue is that Senator Manchin is the father of the Mylan pharmaceuticals’ company CEO. Mylan is also a significant contributor to Senator Manchin. By coinicidence, Mylan also produces the generic version of opiod drugs that Zohydro will cut into their market share. The issue I would wonder is he targeting Zogenix because Mylan is a major contributor or is he protecting his daughters business. Strange how he is not seeking removal of the Mylan version of the drugs which Zohydro is competing with. That is the story to investigate and report.