(Silver Spring, MD) – Imagine a painkiller with more potency than Vicodin. Imagine a painkiller with more addictive properties than Vicodin. Imagine a painkiller that can accidentally kill more easily than Vicodin. And imagine a painkiller that will exacerbate the prescription drug abuse in America.
If you think this sounds good, you’re about to get your wish.
In spite of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee voting 11-2 against releasing Zohydro, the agency will allow its manufacturer, Zogenix, to sell the drug. It could be available as early as March.
“This drug will benefit average, ordinary, everyday Americans who can’t be free of their chronic pain by using current painkillers,” said an FDA spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “And we’re also hoping to help average, ordinary, everyday Americans who are already addicted to drugs such as Vicodin and Percocet but can’t really get a buzz anymore.”
Unlike Vicodin, Zohydro does not combine its main ingredient, hydrocodone, with acetaminophen. Combined with having 10 times the amount of hydrocodone than Vicodin, it’s easy to see how Zohydro could be both addictive and lethal.
“There’s no good reason why this medication should be available,” said a Zohydro critic, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It’s like taking a version of Tylenol mixed with heroin. Or cocaine. Or Drano.”
Another problem with Zohydro: it can be crushed. This means it doesn’t have to be taken orally to do its damage.
“We predict snorting the drug will be as popular, if not more popular, than swallowing the pills. Unless, of course, you have allergies. Then you’ll probably want to swallow.”
In spite of warnings from medical experts to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg that one pill could kill a child, it doesn’t look like the agency is going to change its mind.
“Commissioner Hamburg has made her decision,” said an FDA spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “She’s comfortable with this drug going to market. Of course, she might have taken several Zohydro before announcing her override of the advisory committee.”
Zogenix is defending its decision to push ahead with Zohydro’s sale. “We have spent $1 billion researching and producing a medication that has no redeeming value other than to enable a new generation of drug addicts and prescription drug abusers. There are only about five million Americans abusing prescription drugs at this point. That’s not even 2% of the population. Sure, there’s bound to be some collateral damage, but hey, that’s the world of pharmaceuticals.”