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Zohydro Sales Banned in Massachusetts

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The pure hydrocodone drug Zohydro ER (extended release) will be banned in Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick has announced. He cited a public health emergency stemming from opioid abuse, Reuters reports.

“The introduction of this new painkiller into the market poses a significant risk to individuals already addicted to opiates and to the public at large,” Governor Patrick said in a news release.

Zohydro is designed to be released over time, and can be crushed and snorted by people seeking a strong, quick high. It was approved for patients with pain that requires daily, around-the-clock, long-term treatment that cannot be treated with other drugs. Other hydrocodone drugs on the market, such as Vicodin, also contain acetaminophen.

In a statement, Zogenix said, “We believe Governor Patrick’s ban on Zohydro ER only serves to unfairly restrict patient access to the only hydrocodone pain reliever available for long-term, daily, severe chronic pain patients who are obtaining relief with short-acting hydrocodone combination products, but who are at risk for potentially fatal liver toxicity due to their daily intake of acetaminophen. Ultimately, the ban on the prescription medication will add to patient suffering in the state.”

In December 2012, a panel of experts assembled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted against recommending approval of Zohydro ER. The panel cited concerns over the potential for addiction. In the 11-2 vote against approval, the panel said that while Zogenix had met narrow targets for safety and efficacy, the painkiller could be used by people addicted to other opioids, including oxycodone.

Last week, Zohydro’s manufacturer, Zogenix, announced it will assemble an oversight board designed to spot misuse of the drug.

The FDA’s decision to approve Zohydro has been criticized by some legislators and public health groups. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg has received letters protesting the decision from 28 state attorneys general and four senators, among others. Law enforcement agencies and addiction experts predict approval of the drug will lead to an increase in overdose deaths.

8 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of kevin
    kevin / April 8, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Dont worry about the pain…here take this prescription to one of the “medical marijuana center” several owned by former congressman delahunt smoke a big fat doobie and put on the Dead…you’ll be fine . The government knows best. What do drug companies know…so little they arent even allowed to provide Med Mary Jane in pill form at the “real ” pharmacies we have to put in place centers that treat weed like a craft beer while real drugs that pharma has spent billions on ….oh we cant trust the public to get RX for them ….they might fake their prescription like our congressman fake their concern for us….Like Jeb Bush they love us so much they want to give our money to send people from other countries to hospitals, schools and supermarket with subsidies we pay for that are going to people who just came here from a FOREIGN CUNTRY DO U GET WHAT I AM SAYING THEY ARE TAKING OUR TAX MONEY GIVING IT TO PEOPLE FROM OTHER CUNTRIES AND YET THEY ARE TAKING AWAY OUR RIGHT TO GET LEGAL DRUGS FOR PRESCRIPTS FOR OUR LOVED ONES IN PAIN HOW INSANE HAVE WE BECOME?!

  2. Brenda Smith / April 7, 2014 at 6:32 am

    Shame on THOSE that deny pain medication for relief for the handicapped and disabled. I call it discrimination against those with painful diseases. More deaths will come from under treatment of pain because few may abuse. Trust doctors to do their work without fear.

  3. Avatar of Brenda Smith
    Brenda Smith / April 7, 2014 at 6:26 am

    Patients, doctors and pharmacies should not be published or denied relief from pain nor should the Dr be punished for helping them have relief. Believe more deaths come from under treatment of the handicapped and disabled. I call it discrimination. Shame on THOSE that deny relief.

  4. Avatar of EddieK
    EddieK / April 2, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Zohydro has been out for a month and there has not been one reported diversion. While you can snort or inject hydrocodone, it is most effective taken orally, and it is the weakest of the opioids. Check bluelight, abusers are not excited about this product. They have much better options already available. This is a witch hunt. Do a little research please.

  5. Gail / April 2, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Way to go Govenor Patrick. Wish ALL states would do the same!

  6. Jean / April 2, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Once again, let’s put a bandaid on “addiction”. Prohibiting prescription medication that “may” cause overdoses by people already addicted is not the answer when preventing those that could use it medically from having relief. Where are the prevention efforts for any drug? Why are not ALL doctors REQUIRED to learn in med school about addiction? Why are there psychologists/social workers in the schools but no addiction counselors? Why do we continue to pretend that if the drugs are not readily available that people will not have addiction issues? Money needs to go to the source and not continually bandaid addiction in our society.

  7. Eric Wood, MA LCAC CADAC II / April 1, 2014 at 11:44 am

    YES!!

  8. Eric Wood, MA LCAC CADAC II / April 2, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    “…abusers are not excited about this product.”

    Do you know any opioid addicts? I run a treatment program for opioid dependence and the vast majority of my patients said this is the drug they wished for when they were using. It packs more punch than any other hydrocodone product, can be easily crushed and snorted to absorb an instant impact, and doesn’t carry the same threat of liver damage as do other hydrocodone products. In addition, this drug is hitting the market at the acme of the worst period of opioid dependence in history.

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