Reno, NV--Attorneys general from 28 states have asked the Food and Drug Administration to reconsider its approval of the powerful new painkiller, Zohydro ER. Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Mastro is among those with concerns.
The drug is manufactured by Zogenix Inc. of San Diego. It was approved by the FDA in October. Law enforcement officials fear the drug will start an epidemic of abuse.
Some medical professionals are voicing similar concerns. Larry Pinson, Pharm. D. with the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy said, "Hydrocodone is the number one abused drug in our country." Zohydro is a hydrocodone that unlike others currently on the market, does not contain potentially liver damaging acetaminophen. Pinson said, "Now we have this drug that is just plain hydrocodone. It's never been marketed like that before in the country and becaus eof that, the addiction potential is going to go up."
He also voiced other concerns, "Apparently it is 5 to ten times stronger than the stuff that's on the market now so that to me is really scary."
Dr. Denis Patterson, with Nevada Pain Specialists said, "I have two concerns. The first is that the manufacturer did not make the pill patient tamper proof so patients can misuse or abuse the drug by chewing, crushing or snorting it." He added, "My second concern is because the medication isn't tamper proof, the street value will become very high and patients can profit off of selling it on the streets or to friends.
Patterson said that as a pain management physician, who is board certified in the field, he would not prescribe it, "I want to make sure I don't get my patients addicted to some type of medication and I don't want to have patients who are going to come to me with fake injuries in order to try to obtain the medication so they can sell it on the streets."
Both Pinson and Patterson said they believed the risks outweighed any benefits. Patterson said, "There are plenty of alternatives available that provide pain relief and don't carry the risks. I think the risks of misuse and abuse of this new drug outweigh the benefits to a small group of patients that this would help," he said.