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FDA Approves Prescription Painkiller Ten Times More Potent Than OxyContin

Meyerkord & Kurth, LLC: A Legacy of Legal Innovation

The FDA's recent approval of a potent new painkiller known as Zohydro has come under fire by critics. A coalition of 40 healthcare, consumers and addiction treatment groups are outraged over the drug's approval and its anticipated entrance into the market next month. Like other prescription painkillers, Zohydro includes hydrocodone, which can be extremely addictive. Considering reports published by the Centers for Disease Control that allege opioid deaths have quadrupled since 1999, it is easy to understand critics' concern over this new drug. Most of the concern likely stems from the fact that Zohydro is 5 to 10 times more potent than similar opioid prescription painkillers. This could lead to an increased risk for abuse. The drug's maker, Zogenix, however, claims that Zohydro's benefits outweigh its risks. Those in favor of the drug point out that the drug was specifically approved to be used for chronic pain sufferers. They argue that chronic pain suffers are unlikely to abuse the prescription painkillers as their objective is to find pain relief just so that they lead a normal live. Even taking that as true, critics remain skeptical. Critics worry that Zogenix will follow in the footsteps of many other pharmaceutical companies by expanding clinical trials from chronic pain to a plethora of other pain-inducing conditions. Despite its potentially limited benefits, the risks cannot be overlooked. The drug is strong. Just one tablet contains enough hydrocodone to kill a child, and two pills could cause an overdose in an adult not used to opioid painkillers. Furthermore, Zohydro pills can be easily crushed, which has given rise to concerns of rampant abuse. Even some doctors agree that opiates are a poor method for treating chronic pain. While they conceded that opioids are a good method of easing pain and suffering at the end of life, opioids should not be prescribed for long term use. Long-term use can lead to tolerance and the need for higher and higher doses. Moreover, there is also evidence that opioids can actually make chronic pain worse.

Drug safety is at the forefront to our minds when it comes to treating medical conditions. The experienced Missouri product liability attorneys at Meyerkord & Kurth, LLC will fight for you if it is discovered that you have taken an unsafe medicine and have suffered serious side effects. Contact our knowledgeable family of attorneys at (314) 436-9958 or (800) 391-4318 if you have suffered from a loss due to the negligence of a manufacturer of consumer products such as a medicine that is later found to be unsafe.

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