Painkiller 'Will Kill People as Soon as It's Released'
Some 40 experts hope FDA will reevaluate potentially-deadly Zohydro
By Arden Dier, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2014 7:15 AM CST
Some 40 experts hope FDA will reevaluate potentially-deadly Zohydro.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A new FDA-approved painkiller isn't set to hit pharmacy shelves until next month, but critics are already warning it could kill—with just two pills. Zohydro, which the FDA gave the green light in October against the advice of its advisory panel, will serve as a powerful pain pill for those who can't get relief from what's already out there. It contains the same basic ingredient (hydrocodone) as Vicodin, but it has 5 to 10 times the power, Forbes notes, and without the added acetaminophen. As an expert on the advisory board who voted "no" tells NBC News, that acetaminophen deters savvy addicts from loading up on Vicodin for fear of liver damage. Like OxyContin, Zohydro is a "pure narcotic"; but unlike OxyContin, the Zohydro set to be released isn't tamper resistant, and can easily be crushed, then snorted or injected.

"In the midst of a severe drug addiction epidemic fueled by overprescribing of opioids, the very last thing the country needs is a new, dangerous, high-dose opioid," some 40 experts wrote to the FDA in a call for Zohydro's reevaluation. "It's a whopping dose of hydrocodone packed in an easy-to-crush capsule. It will kill people as soon as it’s released," says one of those experts. But one doctor points out that "it all depends on how doctors monitor it. It could be lifesaving. But if used the wrong way, like any medication, it can cause trouble." On that front, Forbes reports that experts say someone unaccustomed to opioids could overdose with as little as two pills, and that a single pill could kill a child.

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Showing 3 of 272 comments
Oct 24, 2014 11:07 AM CDT
Dear Fred Flintstone: Thank you for drawing my attention to my own shortcommings. I do get carried away sometimes and speak inappropriately.
Apr 4, 2014 1:56 PM CDT
Who cares if it kills some drug addicts anyway? The title of this article is misleading, I thought it was dangerous to real People, not scum.
Apr 1, 2014 6:34 PM CDT
It is a myth that these drugs are addictive because most people who try most drugs do not become addicted to them. My heart goes out to bona fide addicts, but please take what they have to say about the addictiveness of drugs with a few grains of salt. Addicts are NOT experts on the addictiveness of drugs, they are experts on being a drug addict. It is neither true nor helpful to make a blanket statement asserting that opioids (or any other drug - such as alcohol or nicotine) is highly addictive. It is simply not true because most people who try most drugs do not become addicted to them. Just as most people who drink alcohol do so responsibly and in moderation - hence any assertion that alcohol is a highly addictive drug is not true. It is true to say that it is highly addictive for some people in some situations. As for the war on drugs, it will never succeed. We can't even keep drugs out of prisons - how can we expect to keep them off the streets, out of private homes, school dormitories, etc.? It's impossible.