This is an important question to ask yourself considering Zohydro’s entry into the marketplace this month. FDA-approved last fall, Zohydro has hit the shelves despite vehement protest among many prominent figures within the medical community.
According to Zogenix, the manufacturer of the drug, Zohydro is intended for “the management of pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment and for which alternative treatment options are inadequate.” Nevertheless, critics of Zohydro argue that the cons of the drug far outweigh its benefits. Specifically, the composition of the drug, its serious side effects, and its long-term implications, has many critics demanding that the FDA rethink its decision.
Zohydro is a non-combination painkiller. This means acetaminophen is not mixed in with the drug’s active ingredient, an opioid named hydrocodone bitartrate. The presence of acetaminophen in a given painkiller can be essential for two reasons. First and foremost, it lowers the amount of opioid content, the likes of which can be very addictive. Second, it discourages abuse of a given drug since large doses of acetaminophen can potentially cause liver damage.
The reason for Zohydro’s curious lack of acetaminophen is due to it’s intended usage scenario of individuals who require “daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment”. Zohydro won’t be the only drug on the market containing hydrocodone however. Vicodin, another hydrocodone-based drug, has been on the market for years but is mixed with acetaminophen, which makes it around ten times less potent than it’s new cousin.
The manufacturer will also be releasing Zohydro pills in a crushable version, which is a potentially risky proposition considering the ease in which an abuser can snort the product to achieve a rapid onset of it’s effects. Call us crazy, but the potential for abuse cannot be overstated.
Zohydro’s Side Effects
Zohydro, like many prescription drugs, has it’s fair share of side effects. Some of the more common ones are:
This should come as no surprise because many prescribed drugs produce unwanted side effects. What is surprising is the amount of serious side effects that may occur, such as:
• Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression
These are just a few of the serious side effects that may occur. It has been acknowledged that the ingestion of a single pill by a child could result in death, and that as little as two pills could kill an adult who is not used to taking painkillers.
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of Zohydro is the long-term potential it poses as a public health issue. The drug’s many critics think that there already exists a prescription drug abuse problem throughout the county, and that the legalization of Zohydro will only compound the issue.
“This has the potential to be Oxycontin all over again,” notes Lewis Nelson, an emergency medicine doctor and toxicologist at NYU Langone Medical Center.
The dangers of Oxycontin have been well-documented. Like Zohydro, Oxycontin is a non-combination painkiller. It first hit the market in a crushable form, leading to chronic abuse among drug users. Oxycontin pills are now non-crushable, but their impact on teens, adults, and the elderly has been significant. Many cases of abuse have been documented within all three of these groups of people. The last thing society needs, critics argue, is another Oxycontin-like epidemic.
Despite Zohyrdro’s ability to help those with severe pain, its detractors fear that the benefits of the drug may be outweighed by its dangers. In addition to uproar within the medical community, policy-makers like West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin are imploring the FDA to reconsider its position.
The River Source has been treating people with drug addiction for over ten years. Drug addiction, especially prescription drug addiction, is a serious issue in our country. If nothing else, the Zohydro controversy reiterates the importance of discuHave Your Loved Ones Been Prescribed Zohydro?ssing the use of any prescription medication in detail with a medical professional. In the event that you begin to feel dependent on your prescriptions, it is imperative that you seek help immediately.