Should Zohydro Be Available To Chronic Pain Sufferers?

There is so much scandal surrounding the release to pharmacies of Zohydro, the new single drug form of hydrocodone, the medication in Vicodin. It’s controversial because while extended release, it’s crushable for snorting or shooting up. However, there are 100 million Americans in chronic pain and this drug is an alternative to the stronger options such as Oxycontin, Dilaudid and Morphine.

Late last year, the FDA approved a long-acting version of the opiate, hydrocodone. Sold as Zohydro ER by Zogenix ZGNX -6.6%, this drug is approved for the management of pain, but is reserved only for use in patients for whom other pain treatments are ineffective or not tolerated. What was surprising about the FDA approval was that the FDA’s Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Advisory Committee, made up of independent experts, had voted against approval of Zohydro ER by an 11 – 2 vote. The panel was supportive of the drug, but concerned about its abuse potential. While the FDA isn’t bound by the views of its Advisory Committees, it usually follows their advice.

One thought on “Should Zohydro Be Available To Chronic Pain Sufferers?

  • May 20, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    There is far too much stigma in the U.S. surrounding narcotic pain killers, especially long acting ones like OxyContin and now Zohydro.

    Pain relievers were created to relieve pain, yet when someone is in legitimate pain and would benefit from a narcotic pain medicine, they have to run the gauntlet of “drug seeking abuse” first to prove they’re worthy. Better not have any tattoos or know the names of medication ingredients, or know exactly which narcotics work for you and which one might make you nauseous or itchy. If so, you’re clearly a drug seeker.

    I don’t know why we even have these medications if we’re going to make it so difficult to obtain them. So the moral of my comment is that I don’t have a problem with Zohydro being approved and released for sale. I think we need all the options we can get. At the same time, I wonder just how many people will have access to this new drug, even with all the press coverage it’s gotten. Something tells me just as many of the same types of patients will remain in pain.


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