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New painkiller: Lethal potential in painkiller about to be released

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A new painkiller set to be released in March is worrying doctors and addiction experts because of its extreme potency. In fact, they are pressuring the the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revoke their approval of the prescription drug and not make it available, NewsMax reports Feb. 27.

Zohydro is an opioid drug made by Zogenix Inc. in San Diego. The painkiller contains an abundnant amount of opioid analgesics -- which could be fatal to children and new patients,doctors and experts say.

"In the midst of a severe drug epidemic fueled by overprescribing of opioids, the very last thing the country needs is a new, dangerous, high-dose opioid," those opposed to the new painkiller wrote in a letter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg.

"Too many people have already become addicted to similar opioid medications, and too many lives have been lost," the letter continued.

Zohydro is a medication that was approved in October 2013 by the FDA to aid in relieving patients suffering intolerable pain and who need "daily, around-the-clock, long-term treatment." The intention was for this drug to do what all other pain relievers could not in extreme cases.

"It's a Dr. Andrew Kolodny, who is president of the advocacy group Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, said the pill's ingredient is a "whopping dose of hydrocodone packed in an easy-to-crush capsule." He said it "will kill people as soon as it's released."

The new painkiller is reportedly five times more potent than the strongest prescription medicine on the market now.

The pill's maker, Zogenix, rates the drug as having more advantages than disadvantages.

"We do not expect the introduction of Zohydro ER (extended release) to increase the overall use of opioids," said Dr. Brad Galer -- executive vice president and chief medical officer at Zogenix. "In fact, prescription data from the last five years shows that total use of ER opioids is constant and independent of new entrants to the market."

The FDA will review the letter submitted by activists against Zohydro's release.

Despite the troubling crisis of drug addictions and deaths associated with strong prescription medication, there are those who are terminally ill and the discomfort is unimaginable. If there is a drug that can make life less miserable, approval of a drug like this could make all the difference for them. Arguments for and against are all true, but ultimately people have to be responsible for what they put into their bodies. The new painkiller has drawn some debate and it will be interesting to see what the FDA decides.

Copyright © 2014 Heather Tooley

Heather focuses on trending news and entertainment headlines. To read more from this writer, her Twitter page is @HotTopicWriter or hit the "Subscribe" at the beginning of the article above.

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