Abuse Experts Tremble Over Powerful New Painkillers
Drugs with hydrocodone may cause more addiction
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2011 3:50 PM CST

(Newser) – A more powerful version of America's second-most abused medicine is likely headed for a doctor's office near you, the AP reports. Four companies are in the patient-testing phase of painkillers that will be up to 10 times more effective than Vicodin thanks to a highly addictive ingredient called hydrocodone. Critics are targeting one pill in particular: Zohydro, which addicts could crush to bypass its time-release effect and receive an immediate high.

"I have a big concern that this could be the next OxyContin," one critic says. "We just don't need this on the market." Some analysts blame the FDA for opening the floodgates on the $10-billion-a-year market, which has triggered a rise in drug-related deaths and emergency room visits over the past decade. But companies insist the new hydrocodone pills—if approved by the FDA—will avoid liver problems caused by other medicines, and be closely supervised because patients will have to visit the doctor for every refill.

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Dec 27, 2011 4:29 PM CST
I get angry with "know it all's" who say we don't need these medicines. I have a degenerative spinal disease. I have lived in constant pain for 4 yrs now. The current pain meds are destroying my liver. I have to choose between pain relief or painful liver problems. I'm 50, so I could be living like this another 25 yrs or so. Pain pumps help a great deal. A stimulator implant helps a bit too. I have tried cannabis with no luck. Let law enforcement worry about drug enforcement. I go to the Pain Specialist once a month. I'm drug tested & my medications are counted. I'm no druggie! I need improved, safer meds.
Dec 27, 2011 10:29 AM CST
This seems alright. Now marijuana...that's something that should be banned, considering what all it kills. Nothing. It kills nothing. Stop adding more deadly drugs and legalize cannabis already!
Dec 27, 2011 8:28 AM CST
"We just don't need this on the market." says the critic, who's never been in chronic pain.