New FDA-approved painkiller deadly dangerous, US doctors claim

A new painkiller planned to appear in the market in March is heavily criticised by doctors and lawmakers warning of its powerful ability to kill.

The opiate Zohydro was ultimately approved by the US Food and Drug Administration but the agency’s own advisory panel voted 11-2 against approving the drug. The FDA argued that the drug is necessary for patients unfazed by current medication.

The new drug is not available yet but a group of over 40 doctors is hoping to prevent its release by urging the FDA to reconsider its decision. The doctors say that Zohydro is 5 to 10% stronger than its nearest equivalent Vicodin and can cause a severe rise in overdose deaths. The doctors warn that the drug could potentially kill an individual after taking only two Zohydro capsules. A child could suffer a fatal overdose from just one pill.

According to NBC News, Congressmen and attorney generals from 28 states have also urged the FDA to reconsider the drug’s approval.

Still, some doctors believe that the strong dosage would benefit a certain group of patients. They say that any painkiller can be addictive or life-saving. It all depends on how doctors monitor it. If used the wrong way, any medication can cause trouble.

The letter to the FDA places Zohydro in a larger context regarding drug use in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths in the US have skyrocketed from about 4,000 in 1999 to almost 17,000 in 2010.

Although the FDA reconsiders its rulings on rare occasions only, doctors still hope it is possible this time.

Voice of Russia, CBS News

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