BEWARE: Powerful painkiller 'Zohydro' could create new addiction
POSTED: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 5:33pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 9:57am
Tyler, TX (KETK) — A powerful new painkiller has some doctors and officials urging the Food and Drug Administration to reverse its ruling, and keep it off the market. This is the first time in history the FDA has allowed a drug to be released despite a landslide vote from its advisory board to keep it off the market.
"Zohydro" is a strong painkiller that was released in March. Its active ingredient is hydrocodone, similar to the popular pain medication Vicodin. However Vicodin contains a mixture of Tylenol, while Zohydro is pure hydrocodone, and in an even higher dosage. KETK spoke with Pharmacist David Davis, who said, "Hydrocodone is probably the most abused prescription pain reliever out there today, and Zohydro is the first pure hydrocodone pain reliever that has come out commercially on the market in the United States".
In fact one capsule of Zohydro can contain 50 milligrams of hydrocodone, which is enough to kill a child. For an adult without any tolerance for painkillers, two of these pills could cause an overdose. Davis said, "The main concern on overdosing hydrocodone is a respiratory system shutdown. Your respiratory system will just begin to shut down, you won't be able to breathe, and eventually you will die". This is possible because of the pills ability to be easily crushed. Though the capsule is extended release, its contents can be removed all at one time. Davis said, "In this dosage form, extended release, if they cut into it or empty the capsule, it's no longer extended release and it will hit them immediately".
Zohydro has been controversial since its release because the FDA approved the drug against advice from its own advisory panel, which voted 11-to-2 against it. Many groups are calling for a reverse ruling, including Attorney's General from 28 different states. However the FDA says it meets their regulations, and there is a purpose for the drug. Davis said, "This is something for people that have chronic, round the clock pain, that is not controlled or they simply cannot tolerate other means of medication". Zohydro contains five times more hydrocodone than current painkillers.