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'Frightening' New Pain Pill Set To Hit Pharmacies

'Frightening' New Pain Pill Set To Hit Pharmacies

A new painkiller approved by the Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to be available to patients next month - but it seems not without a fight. Opponents of the pill call its potency frightening and say it will begin killing people as soon as it's released.

"Over 40 health care consumer and addiction treatment groups want the FDA to revoke its approval of Zohydo, a hydrocodone-based drug. Zohydro was approved for treating chronic pain, but the coalition is concerned about the drug's potency and abuse potential,' WWLP reports.

A petition on Change.org calls Zohydro "the next OxyContin."

On Wednesday, the Fed Up! Coalition wrote a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg saying, "In the midst of a severe drug epidemic fueled by overprescribing of opioids, the very last thing the country needs is a new, dangerous, high-dose opioid."

In December, members of Congress sent a similar letter to the FDA, asking for the decision to be reviewed.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of opioid-related deaths more than quadrupled from 1999 to 2010.

But CNN has a statement from the executive vice president and chief medical officer at Zogenix, the maker of Zohydro, who argues the benefits outweigh the risks.

"We do not expect the introduction of Zohydro ER (extended release) to increase the overall use of opioids. ... In fact, prescription data from the last five years shows that total use of ER opioids is constant and independent of new entrants to the market."

Last October the FDA upgraded hydrocodone-containing drugs from a Schedule 3 to Schedule 2 controlled substance, "which would increase the controls on these products." Schedule 1 are drugs considered to have the highest potential for abuse.

The change could be one reason the FDA is confident Zohydro will not contribute to the so-called epidemic.

Zohydro's label will feature warnings about abuse, misuse and addiction. The drug's makers are reportedly working on an abuse-resistant version expected to be released in the next few years.

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Sylvia March 01 2014 at 11:05 PM

Unless you have chronic pain that makes it hard to function, do not judge people that take pain pills. Along with a good Dr. one has to find the right pain med that helps them to lead a productive life.

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Tracey February 28 2014 at 10:34 AM

All of you who have posted here stating that "I'm in chronic pain, and I need this drug" need to face it: you ARE an addict. You speak out against "drug addicts" ruining your chances of obtaining the next shiny new painkiller...um hello! If you rely on painkillers to function, you are no different from the pill heads who buy them on the street. The problem is people who are selling their prescription pain meds to turn a profit. Prescription pain pills are a much bigger problem these days than illicit drugs of the past. The war on drugs that began in the Reagan years was not lost, it just became a different animal. Big Pharma has the puppet strings now, and they have blown the dope dealers from yesteryear out of the water. Open your eyes, people. BTW, the first person to say anything about Fibromyalgia is getting b***h slapped by me...that is the biggest farce on the planet.

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nyhuguenot February 28 2014 at 11:52 AM

Another uninformed moron who has absolutely no understanding of chronic pain. I've had 14 surgeries since 1999 to remove bone spurs that have crushed or cut nerves and tendons. Last year my achilles tendon was cut by a bone spur. The tendon from my big toe was moved and inserted through a hole drilled in my ankle to give my foot movement. I've had two back surgeries for stenosis where the nerves to my legs and feet were crushed. You've no idea what pain is. And I still work and run my business as take care of my home.
The difference between a junkie and us? Junkies take drugs that incapacitate them. Chronic pain patients take drugs that make them productive. We don't get high and the amount we take doesn't remove all pain. My prescription hasn't increased in seven years. You have no understanding of pain or pain medications.

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Tracey March 01 2014 at 9:32 AM

I know close to a dozen people who have never been in chronic pain, have never been precribed a pain pill in their lives, but who are addicted to prescription pain killers. They are not "junkies" laying about in some drug den as you suggest, but people who work full-time, and function as though they aren't "high" at all. They are all around us, they are young people, and it is absolutely tragic. They need the pills as you do because they will experience withdrawal symptoms if they attempt to end their addictions (as I'm sure you would too). They pay between $6 and $20 dollars per pill on the street, so someone who gets their $6 Percocet prescription filled at Walmart is making bank on this venture. I have a realistic understanding of what the pharmaceutical industry is doing, which is promoting addiction, period. You are correct in the assumption that I don't have any experience with chronic physical pain, but my heart breaks for my friends who are addicted to this crap, and to me that is the greatest pain of all. Don't rely on movies and episodes of Law & Order for your definition of a "junkie", it makes your glaring ignorance far too obvious.

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wildca2321 March 09 2014 at 4:42 PM

How right you are nyhunguenot, I have had 3 bad accidents and I am 74 I have been on pain meds and try to take them as little as possiable but there are days I can not move unles I take meds for my pain, I have a Mom that is 97 and now in a nursing home, I took care of her till last year now she is in a nursing home and I go there at least 3 to 4 times a week, There are days if I didn't take something for pain I would not be able to visit her, I have had my hip replaced, I have a rod from my knee to my ankle, I have arthritis which is ever present.
Anyhow the new narco meds that they gave me this month are like half of what I use to take, I have no clue how I am going to get by because aside from the fact that they don't work as well as my old meds they cost twice as much.

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Michael March 01 2014 at 7:52 AM

And when you turn 13 Tracey, the world will be a different place....kids

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Tracey March 01 2014 at 9:35 AM

Yes, I am anxiously awaiting puberty!

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chrincevi February 27 2014 at 10:09 PM

We can also thank the Rush Limbaughs of the world who are rich and can afford to obtain and misuse pain medications. And thanks to all the goodie, goodie conservatives who want to rule our lives (but they want the gov't to stay out of their lives????). I usually would say I wouldn't want anyone to endour what those of us with chronic pain have to suffer through on a daily basis. But I wish that all the goons out there who don't understand the desparate and real need for pain medication find themselves being diagnosed with an incurable condition that will cause them excruciating pain every minute, hour, day, etc. the rest of their lives. Then let them try to fill their pain med prescriptions and be told "no...you can't have it and we have no alternatives that we can offer you." Or even worse, let them watch their children in excruciating pain on a daily basis but some ass wipe has decided it is easier to ban the drugs than to do their jobs and stop the misuse of the drugs. The drugs are not the problem. Drug abusers are the problems and the law makers should be targeting them rather than take the easy way out and just disallow the drugs from being sold at all. Does anyone care to monitor the suicide rates if this war on legitimate pain medications continues and/or escalates?

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Tracey February 28 2014 at 10:43 AM

Please explain how you are not an "addict"? Can you survive without the drugs? If not, then you are an addict.

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2 replies to Tracey's comment
nyhuguenot February 28 2014 at 11:54 AM

I can survive but the pain would lead to a miserable existance. The drugs are not given in a quantity high enough to cause euphoria and do not relieve all pain. But they make it possible to go to work for those who aren't completely disabled.

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David February 28 2014 at 12:15 PM

You don't know what the hell you are talking about!

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susan.traceski February 27 2014 at 8:26 PM

I don't understand why everyone has all these "issues" with medications?! It is most definitely a personal responsibility....end of story! You cannot blame drug companies, the FDA, Doctors......no one- the ONLY blame goes on the person that takes them, just as it does the person who fired the weapon, not the weapon itself! Those of us with chronic pain shouldn't have to live with it just because those who cannot deal with their own problems like to blame everyone else! Just how much pain do I have to be in, day in and day out, before I am able to get some help with it? My Doc even told me that she was afraid to give me anything stronger than Tramadol....Why you may ask? Because of the idiots that use and abuse, and cause the FDA to hunker down and scrutinize ALL that these Docs do that DO prescribe pain meds!! Seriously?!?! Thank you to the idiots and suicidal people that make it IMPOSSIBLE to get the help I need!!

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Tracey February 28 2014 at 10:36 AM

So, you need a constant supply of pain meds just to function? Isn't that the very definition of an addict? Just because you have a script, that doesn't make you any different from the "idiots" that use & abuse.

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2 replies to Tracey's comment
Sylvia March 01 2014 at 11:19 PM

Tracey, obviously you do not have chronic pain. So in other words people that are suffering with pain should not take pain meds? Sorry to say you are very uninformed.

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nyhuguenot March 02 2014 at 12:30 AM

We use but we do not abuse. The pills found on the streets are coming from "pill mills". Doctors who prescribe to people for the money in large quantities. Florida was the center of it all until two years ago. DEA busted it it up and now it has moved elsewhere.
An Oxycontin will last from eight to 12 hours counting the 1.5 hour periods at the beginning and end of the drugs peak when it is reaching peak. That means at most 90 tablets at most per month. Yet these mills are prescribing 300 or more. Pharmacies in cahoots are filling the prescriptions. The controls exercise over pain patients by the clinics we go to make this nearly impossible. Urine tests and surprise pill counts are the norm. These clinics are subject to DEA oversight and surprise inspections themselves. Yes we are different than the idiots.

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Jeffrey February 27 2014 at 1:41 PM

Umm, Jasmine, it's opiOID, not opiATE. You said the wrong word five times.

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Alaska Garden Girl February 27 2014 at 1:21 PM

How many lives & families have been shattered, how many crimes have been committed all because of Alcohol? And, yet you can buy it at the grocery store.

I'm not suggesting that alcohol be banned, it just seems silly to me for people to get all riled up over a highly controlled pain reliever and these same people are "OK" with alcohol.

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Tracey February 28 2014 at 10:41 AM

I guess you skipped the lesson on prohibition in your American history class...When alcohol was illegal, crime increased, and the govt. saw that bootleggers were making all of the money from alcohol that they produced, so they put an end to that right quick. The same phenomenon is happening with drugs now. Rather than seeing the heroin dealers making all of the money, Big Pharma has become the new dealer on the street.

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Larry Lang February 27 2014 at 12:34 PM

For those of you who do not know what it is like to be in pain 24/7/365 for years don't realize how desperate that situation becomes. The refusal of the government to only allow pain killers to be prescribed for pain to those who first can afford them and next for the patients that are in for some kind of temporary injury that doesn't require long term script.
A person can be in pain for as long as they want (according to our buddies on the hill), just don't get them hooked on "DRUGS".

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prmireland February 27 2014 at 12:28 PM

Did you research this subject before writing " the SO-CALLED epidemic"? This is a totally irresponsible, uninformed misleading statement. I work in an Emergency Room in New York and the ONLY reason the use or prescriptions for oxycontin have been controlled or decreased is related to legislation in New York that requires any prescriber to check a site that monitors controlled substance prescriptions before writing another prescription. This safeguard was put in place to prevent patients from "doctor shopping" and getting multiple prescriptions from multiple providers The addiction problem has gotten so bad, GPs are also not ordering these meds as often as they used to because people frequently abuse and / or overdose on them.(both intentionally and non-intentionally). I have worked in the addiction field for 30+ years and have seen the problem increase exponentially in the last decade. The ages of addiction run from as young as 12 to as old as 86. Addicts come from all strata of society and being able to say a medication "was prescribed" gives it an aura of validity and legitimacy to the addiction. There are also many peripheral consequences to addiction such as increased crime and thefts to support the habit, the financial burden on the system for disability payments to people with addiction and an increase in depression and suicide to a large portion of the population. In the future please do not minimize the reality or seriousness of prescription drug abuse in this country. It is a disservice to your readers and irresponsible journalism.

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nyhuguenot February 28 2014 at 12:03 PM

I go to a practice that deals only with chronic pain patients. I get one prescription per month which is paid for through my health insurance. Going to another doctor would be difficult since the insurance company has limits on presciptions for drugs. Only recently have they allowed us to have three Oxycontin tablets a day. There is a 1.5 hours ascendance to the drug to reach peak and the last 1.5 is spent in pain during the 12 hour duration of the drug. That meant I was spending half my day in extreme pain. Splitting the same quantity into three parts means less pain periods.
Doctors are alert to those who are "drug seekers". I also have surprise pill counts where I'm called in to have my pills counted. There are also urine tests that can reveal if other drugs are being used or a higher quantity is being taken. They also make sure you are taking the drugs and not faking it to get the precriptions to sell. There's a lot more control over this process than the unitiated would know.

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tefilan February 27 2014 at 12:14 PM

A new pain narcotic. How about our serious lack of new antibiotics?

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Chuck February 27 2014 at 12:14 PM

From those of us who NEED help for chronic pain...THANK YOU... to the FDA...because of all the hoopla doctors are afraid of giving us medications.

And to all those who would try to keep medications away from people who need it...mind your own damn business!!!

The main point here is PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY....to try and deny ALL of us medication because some few people MIGHT abuse it is overbearing!!!

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Alaska Garden Girl February 27 2014 at 1:14 PM

You are absolutely right. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

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