Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Stephanie Smith reports at CNN that a coalition of more than 40 health care, consumer and addiction treatment groups is urging the Food and Drug Administration to revoke approval of the new prescription pain drug Zohydro, a hydrocodone-based drug set to become available to patients in March. "You're talking about a drug that's somewhere in the neighborhood of five times more potent than what we're dealing with now," says Dr. Stephen Anderson, a Washington emergency room physician who is not part of the most recent petition to the FDA about the drug. "I'm five times more concerned, solely based on potency." The concerns echoed by all groups are broadly about the drug's potency and abuse potential. They say they fear that Zohydro — especially at higher doses — will amplify already-rising overdose numbers. "In the midst of a severe drug epidemic fueled by overprescribing of opioids, the very last thing the country needs is a new, dangerous, high-dose opioid (PDF)," the coalition wrote in a letter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg. But Zohydro's maker, Zogenix, and the FDA say the drug's benefits outweigh its risks and in their petition to the FDA for approval, Zogenix representatives say the drug fills a critical need for people suffering from chronic pain who are at risk for liver toxicity and cited examples of patients who might benefit from Zohydro: a 46-year-old male with chronic back and leg pain who had two failed back surgeries; a 52-year-old female with metastatic breast cancer experiencing diffuse pain; a 32-year-old woman with multiple orthopedic fractures. "There's a lot of misinformation being put out there by people who don't have all the facts," says Dr. Brad Galer, executive vice president and chief medical officer at Zogenix. "We're talking about patients that are in bed, depressed, can't sleep, can't work, can't interact with their loved ones — it's a very significant medical health problem that is being ignored."
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