Entries in Hydrocodone (2)


Doctors Express Concern over New 'Addictive' Painkiller

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- It has yet to hit the market, and already a powerful new painkiller is arousing debate among doctors specializing in pain management.

The drug is a new formulation that would allow doctors for the first time ever to prescribe pure hydrocodone to their patients. According to the National Institutes of Health, hydrocodone is already a component of 404 separate branded drugs; in each case, it is mixed with some other medication. Vicodin, a well-known example, is a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen, which is the active ingredient in Tylenol.

But should such a product even be available, particularly in light of the country’s growing battle with prescription painkiller addiction? At the center of the debate is the question of whether the possible benefits of such a pill, which would potentially carry many times the amount of hydrocodone than the amount in current combination medicines, would outweigh the risks linked to the addictive potential.

"Oh, it is very addictive," said Dr. Lloyd Saberski, medical director of the New Haven, Ct.-based Advanced Diagnostic Pain Treatment Centers. "But so are oxycodone, Dilaudid, Demerol and morphine. Why should this product be discriminated upon more so than the other products?"

Saberski added that existing FDA regulations would protect the public from the misuse of this new drug.

Other pain management physicians say adding pure hydrocodone to the mix of addictive prescription pain drugs already available will only make the country’s painkiller abuse problem worse. One of these physicians is Dr. Joel Saper, founder and director of the Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute in Ann Arbor.

"I don’t think we need another opioid," Saper said. “We need better education, more sanity, and we need to stop treating benign pain with more narcotics."

Saper said that while it would make sense for pain management doctors to be able to prescribe hydrocodone as a painkiller without the acetaminophen in Vicodin -- which can cause acute liver toxicity if too much is taken -- there are currently other approaches available to doctors that allow them to treat pain with existing drugs.

Saper said that adding another drug to the mix would be a mistake in light of the country’s prescription drug abuse problem.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Vicodin Times 10: New Painkiller Worries Doctors

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new prescription painkiller in the works might ultimately deliver far more pain than it relieves, health experts say.

Drug companies are racing to develop a pure form of hydrocodone, better known to consumers as Vicodin.  The new drug is considered 10 times more potent that regular Vicodin, the strength of which is cut with over-the-counter painkiller acetaminophen.

Zogenix of San Diego is leading the pack and could start marketing its drug Zohydro as early as next year.

Although the time-released drug is not intended to deliver all its painkilling relief at once, critics say that addicts will get around it by crushing pills as they've done with other drugs in the opoid class, which are from the opium family.

Hydrocodone is the second most abused prescription painkiller next to Oxycontin, although the purer hydrocodone could quickly supplant the current king of opoids.

Doctors say they need the drug to help alleviate moderate to severe pain in patients who claim that nothing else helps them.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio