It will kill people as soon as it’s released

images (3)The upcoming release of Zohydro has been getting a lot of attention:

The hydrocodone-based drug is the latest in a long line of painkillers called opioid analgesics. The FDA approved the medication last fall to treat chronic pain, and it is set to become available to patients in March.

The drug was approved against the advice of the FDA’s own advisory board.

Despite a vote of 11 to 2 by an FDA panel to reject the powerful new drug, it was eventually given approval by the FDA for release.

There are concerns about the manufacturer’s access to the FDA.

Last fall, a series of emails were made public from a Freedom of Information Act request. They were emails between two professors who had, for a decade, organized private meetings between FDA officials and drug companies who make pain medicine. The drug companies pay the professors thousands of dollars to attend.

And here’s what has critics concerned. One of those companies was Zohydro’s original manufacturer, Elan Corp. Zogenix wasn’t in the picture yet but went on to partner with Elan.

One physician group isn’t mincing words about the impact of the drug.

“It’s a whopping dose of hydrocodone packed in an easy-to-crush capsule,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, president of the advocacy group Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. “It will kill people as soon as it’s released.”

Doctor Skeptic reviews the research on opioids as a pain management options and concludes with this:

The bottom line
1. Opioids may not be effective for chronic non-cancer pain, and their use in such patients is associated with side effects, tolerance, dependence, and addiction.
2. Despite this, prescription opioid use is increasing and with that, the rates of opioid abuse and opioid related death are also increasing.
3. Harms from prescription opioids are over-represented in the socially disadvantaged.

 

3 Comments

Filed under Advocacy, Controversies, Policy, Research

3 responses to “It will kill people as soon as it’s released

  1. It’s sad and disturbing, how much worse the potential for severe opiate addiction is becoming these days. It just keeps getting worse.

  2. Francis Cook

    “IT’ll kill people”-does it come armed then? It’s dumb ascribing values to collections of molecules. It’s how drugs are used that is the issue. The drugs themselves are just things, like chairs or light bulbs.

    • I’d agree that drugs, in and of themselves, are not bad.

      However, the same argument is often made that guns don’t kill, it’s what people do with them.

      We could also say that pollutants are just molecules and don’t kill. It’s only when they are introduced into an ecosystem in a careless manner.

      I might pursue the pollutant analogy and say that we’re introducing a new drug into the ecosystem and vulnerable organisms will die because of its introduction.