The war on drugs is about to become even more challenging, thanks to a new potent painkiller on the market that prompted Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin on Thursday to issue an emergency order to make it more difficult for doctors to prescribe the new class of drugs, which includes Zohydro.
This isn’t the first time that a state has challenged the potent painkiller. At the end of last year, a total of 28 attorneys general from states across America, including Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, urged the Food and Drug Administration to revoke the agency’s approval of Zohydro – or to at least require that the drug be reformulated by the company that makes the drug so it would be less likely to be abused.
The backlash against Zohydro has been growing since the FDA approved the drug last year against the recommendation of an internal advisory committee.
Zohydro belongs to a class of medicines called opiates or opioids. Others include heroine, morphine and oxycodone, the painkiller in OxyContin.
The ability of Zohydro to relieve pain comes from hydrocodone. Other medications, including Vicodin, also contain hydrocodone, as well as acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol.
The company that manufactures the drug is Zogenix, which is based in San Diego. The company has defended its drug, saying that it is no more potent than other hydrocodone medications, and that the company is taking steps to make sure that physicians and patients are made aware of its risks.