Fearing Abuse, States Challenge FDA on Painkiller Approval

April 28, 2014
by Mike Ollove

According to a 2013 report by theTrust for America’s Health, 6.1 million Americans abuse or misuse prescription drugs. Overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers have quadrupled since 1999, and now outnumber those from heroin and cocaine combined.

Zohydro is the first single-ingredient, long-acting product containing the semi-synthetic opioid hydrocodone. Until Zohydro, which is just reaching the market now, all the other painkillers on the market containing hydrocodone were combined with the anti-inflammatory analgesic acetaminophen. The use of acetaminophen, which is not addictive, allows patients to take less potent opioids which are both addictive and can cause nausea, constipation and dangerously shallow breathing. Acetaminophen is a common ingredient in over-the-counter painkillers, such as Tylenol and Excedrin, as well as opioid medications like Percocet and Vicodin.

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