New Opioid Painkiller Makes Headlines for Danger, Overdoses

by | Mar 21, 2014 | Firm News, Medication Errors |

When you go to the hospital or the doctor for pain treatment in Ohio, you
want to know that your treatment is safe and effective. In this case,
it’s been suggested that medication errors may be more prominent
due to the type of drug being offered. Now, the Food and Drug Administration
is being asked to rescind the approval of a new painkiller called Zohydro.

According to the news from March 17, the Allegheny Health Network physician
has joined with others in the outcry about this drug, which the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration recently approved. The drug is a potent opioid
painkiller, which can lead to overdoses, either accidental or not, abuse
and illegal use. The report claims that the extended-release drug only
contains hydrocodone, which is then released over a 12-hour period.

The problem with this, according to the news, is that the FDA approved
this drug despite an 11 to 2 vote against its release from the advisory
committee. Doctors who don’t want the drug on the market have argued
that there are other opioid and extended-release painkillers already on
the market and at their disposal. The problem with this drug is that if
a patient isn’t aware, crushing it or chewing it could actually
be fatal. Crushing or chewing the pill would release more of the medication
at one time, and that could lead to accidental overdoses.

The director of Allegheny Health Network’s division of pain medicine
argued that the 50-milligram capsule would release the equivalent of 10
Vicodin at once if chewed or crushed. This concern is not without merit.
He argued that there have been 22 deaths and an unknown number of nonfatal
overdoses due to the use of the similar drug, fentanyl, since the summer
of 2013. Right now, 40 consumer watchdog groups along with addiction-treatment
organizations are arguing against the drug’s release. The attorney
generals in 28 states have also argued against the need for the drug.


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