FDA Approves ‘Zohydro’ Despite Looming Fear Of Abuse
Addiction specialists and other health care givers have expressed major trepidation over the fact that Zohydro, a new painkiller, is set to be available for prescription and use very soon, as it has already received FDA approval. The drug has caused alarm in the medical and substance abuse community because many things about it seem to make it likely that it is highly addictive and will be abused.
What Exactly is Zohydro?
Zohydro is an opiate painkiller manufactured by the drug company Zogenix. It is significant in that it is the first pure hydrocodone drug that has ever received FDA approval. This means that the drug will be far more potent and addictive than its current counterparts: drugs like Vicodin.
Why Does it Present Such a Danger For Abuse?
Zohydro may be a very dangerous drug because of the possibilities it presents for addicts to abuse it. Many experts point out that it can easily be ingested in a number of very dangerous ways. It can be snorted, swallowed, and even injected by an opiate addict, who, because of the potent nature of the drug may experience an extreme high while abusing it.
Zogenix and the FDA Admit That the Drug Poses Serious Risks
Both the FDA and Zogenix have publically stated that Zohydro poses major health risks to its users. Zogenix advises on its site that the drug, “Poses risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse,” and that its side effects can “lead to overdose and death.” The FDA, though it did approve the drug, also voiced concerns from its panel about the very high risks that the drug poses. Both the FDA and Zogenix have advised that the drug should be used only with extreme caution and in patients for whom other methods of pain control are not an option.
The Rise of Opiate Abuse
News of the release of Zohydro comes on the heels of what has been an ever growing tide of opiate abuse and death and injury related to opiates. Opiates like Vicodin and Oxycontin, which have long been on the market, have been found to be related for as many as 60% of prescription drug related deaths, which have continued to be on the rise, despite attempts by many physicians to monitor patients who receive prescriptions for drugs that pose a risk for addiction and abuse. Painkillers seem to be increasing as a major health risk for a number of reasons.
One reason that painkiller abuse seems to be increasing at such an alarming rate is that many people who may not have otherwise been exposed to opiates may receive a prescription for a painkiller that is heavily addictive. A patient may become dependent on a drug like this without even realizing it, and find themselves struggling with addiction. Other addicts, who may be abusing opiates like heroin may turn to prescription opiates as a way to get their fix in instances where they cannot procure heroin, or after they have made a failed attempt to recover from addiction.
The Impact of Zohydro
It is unclear exactly how large of an impact Zohydro may have on the mental health community and the rising amount of individuals struggling with drug addiction. Many doctors are already aware of the dangers the drug poses, and may be hesitant to prescribe it once it is available on the market or use it in a drug rehab facility. That said, it is undeniable that opiate addicts will have access to the drug in some way once it is available. Sales on the black market are inevitable, and even a person who does not have a history of abuse may be subject to addiction.