Tag Archives: Zogenix

Del. orders Zohydro prescribing restrictions

RXDelaware has put into place emergency prescribing regulations regarding Zohydro, a powerful new painkiller many critics fear may fuel the epidemic of painkiller abuse. Late last year, Zohydro gained FDA approval despite the fact that after its own advisory committee had voted 11-2 against allowing the drug on the market. Since then, 29 state attorneys general have urged the agency to reconsider its decision, and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick even attempted to ban the drug (a federal judge later blocked that order). Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock said the regulations were necessary “to address the imminent peril to the public health, safety and welfare of all Delawareans” caused by Zohydro. According to his statement:

The use of this new and dangerous narcotic painkiller known as Zohydro must be monitored closely because the abuse of it can be deadly. It carries even higher risks of abuse than other short-acting formulations.

Zogenix, the maker of Zohydro, recently reported that about 9,000 prescriptions were filled through June 13 since the drug hit the market in March. The company plans to target about 20,000 prescribers it describes as “high decile [extended-release/long-acting] opioid prescribers” who account for 60% of the market, and envisions Zohydro along the lines of the multibillion-dollar market for OxyContin, according to this article.

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Zohydro backlash intensifies despite FDA’s defense

No-pills-4-1-14Opposition to Zohydro, the powerful new opiate some critics are calling “heroin in a pill,” continues to build, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is strongly defending the agency’s approval of the drug, saying its benefits to pain patients outweigh the potential negative consequences.

Since its approval by the FDA last October, Zohydro has come under fire from members of Congress, state attorneys general, doctors and addiction specialists who have worked to block the pill from being sold in the U.S., according to this article. Critics want the agency to rescind its approval of Zohydro, citing the alleged danger of the drug as well as the growing abuse of prescription drugs nationwide, but the FDA says that instead of blocking the sale of Zohydro based on a fear of abuse and addiction, providers should screen patients before they prescribe the drug and while they are on it, the article says.

The green light for Zohydro, a new version of pure, extended-release hydrocodone that is said to be 10 times more powerful than Vicodin, came after an FDA advisory panel last year voted against approving the drug, citing concerns about the danger of addiction posed by the opioid drug class.

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Judge nixes Zohydro ban in Mass.

gavelA federal judge has struck down Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s ban on the controversial new form of hydrocodone, Zohydro, saying the state lacked the authority to override the FDA’s approval of the painkiller. U.S. District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel noted that the FDA approved Zohydro after a screening process, and said the federal regulatory agency has more power than the state in this case, according to this article. She also said Massachusetts lacked the authority to force Zohydro’s maker, Zogenix, to make an abuse-resistant form of the drug because that formulation has not been approved by the FDA, the article says.

Gov. Patrick issued the Zohydro ban last month, declaring a public health emergency in response to the state’s growing opioid addiction epidemic and taking a number of other steps to curb overdoses and help the addicted. In a press release, the governor said the use of oxycodone and other narcotic painkillers, often as a route to heroin addiction, has been on the rise for the last few years in Massachusetts; at least 140 people have died from suspected heroin overdoses in communities across the state in the last several months, levels previously unseen. From 2000 to 2012, the number of unintentional opiate overdoses increased by 90 percent, he added.

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Zohydro critics fear new wave of addiction

Vicodin-half-life-how-long-does-Vicodin-remain-in-your-body2The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Zogenix Inc.’s Zohydro painkiller has come under fire from critics who say the agency should not be approving any additional opioids given the current prescription drug epidemic. Forty-two public health groups are urging the FDA to withdraw its support of the painkiller, according to National Public Radio. Zogenix says it will introduce a non-crushable version of Zohydro in three years and plans to closely monitor prescription abuse, and claims that millions legitimately need the drug, NPR reports. But addiction experts say another high-potent, high-dose, long-acting opioid drug will simply add more fuel to the painkiller addiction epidemic, NPR says.

The green light for Zohydro, a new version of pure, extended-release hydrocodone that is said to be 10 times more powerful than Vicodin, came after an FDA advisory panel last year voted against approving the drug, citing concerns about the danger of addiction posed by the opioid drug class.

Unlike other hydrocodone-containing drugs like Vicodin, Lortab and Norco, Zohydro is not buffered with acetaminophen or some other over-the-counter medication. The drug also lacks an abuse-deterrent feature such as the ones used in new formulations of drugs like OxyContin.

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FDA OKs controversial form of Vicodin

pills and pill bottlesThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Zogenix Inc.’s Zohydro painkiller, a new version of pure, extended-release hydrocodone that is said to be 10 times more powerful than Vicodin. The move comes amid criticism from those who say the FDA should not be approving any additional opioids given the current prescription drug addiction epidemic. An advisory panel last year voted against approving Zohydro, citing concerns about the danger of addiction posed by the opioid drug class.

Unlike other hydrocodone-containing drugs like Vicodin, Lortab and Norco, Zohydro is not buffered with acetaminophen or some other over-the-counter medication. The drug also lacks an abuse-deterrent feature such as the ones used in new formulations of drugs like OxyContin.

Hydrocodone is currently the second most-abused medicine in the U.S. behind oxycodone.

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FDA panel says no to pumped-up Vicodin

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel has voted against the agency approving Zogenix Inc.’s Zohydro painkiller, a new version of pure, extended-release hydrocodone that is said to be 10 times more powerful than Vicodin. In an 11-2 vote, the advisory panel said Zogenix had met FDA standards for safety and efficacy, but cited concerns about the danger of addiction posed by the opioid drug class, according to this article.

The FDA could still approve the drug for sale in the United States by imposing restrictions to protect public safety, though it usually follows the advice of its advisory panels when deciding whether to approve new medicines. Agency officials will consider the committee’s recommendation in deciding by March 1 whether to give Zohydro the green light, the article says.

San Diego-based Zogenix Inc.’s bid for FDA approval to begin marketing Zohydro has prompted some activists to appeal to the agency not to rubber-stamp more opioid drugs in the midst of an out-of-control epidemic. Proponents of extended-release versions of opioids – such as Purdue Pharma’s recently reformulated OxyContin, OP – claim the drugs are safer because they are “abuse-resistant,” but others point out that many opioid-addicted people simply swallow the pills whole. (Addicts are also already finding their way around allegedly tamper-proof versions.)

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New Vicodin draws activist fire amid opioid abuse epidemic

San Diego-based Zogenix Inc.’s bid for FDA approval to begin marketing Zohydro – a new version of pure, extended-release hydrocodone that is said to be 10 times more powerful than Vicodin – has prompted some activists to appeal to the agency not to rubber-stamp more opioid drugs in the midst of an out-of-control epidemic. Proponents of extended-release versions of opioids – such as Purdue Pharma’s recently reformulated OxyContin, OP – claim the drugs are safer because they are “abuse-resistant,” but others point out that many opioid-addicted people simply swallow the pills whole. (Addicts are also already finding their way around allegedly tamper-proof versions.)

One group, Advocates for the Reform of Prescription Opioids, has launched a letter-writing campaign urging the FDA not to sign off on more opioids. According to ARPO president Pete Jackson, the approval of extended-release hydrocodone will only exacerbate the opioid addiction epidemic, which killed nearly 15,000 Americans in 2008, surpassing the number of deaths due to car accidents. “It boggles the mind that, with the steadily rising toll of death and addiction from prescription opioids that has gone on unabated for more than ten years, we could be facing the approval of still more potent narcotic pain relievers in the form of pure, extended-release hydrocodone,” Jackson says. “It makes NO sense for the FDA to approve more deadly opioids at a time when they have not figured out how to stop the carnage from the opioids already on the market. This will add thousands to the annual death toll.”

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New painkiller may take Oxy’s place

As you probably know, Purdue Pharma has reformulated OxyContin to curb abuse of the product, although it’s questionable how successful that attempt has been. (While some have already found ways to abuse the new version, known as OP, other ramifications include more people turning to painkillers like Opana and an increase in heroin addiction.) Now, another potent painkiller is looming on the horizon: Zohydro, a new version of hydrocodone that is said to be 10 times more powerful than Vicodin. San Diego-based Zogenix Inc. is seeking FDA approval to begin marketing the drug, but other pharmaceutical companies – including Purdue – are already working on their own versions. Hydrocodone is currently the second most-abused medicine in the U.S. behind oxycodone, and prescription painkiller overdoses killed nearly 15,000 Americans in 2008, surpassing the number of deaths due to car accidents.

It seems pretty convenient that just as Oxy is becoming potentially less lucrative, Big Pharma is moving on to greener pastures. Then again, are we really surprised?

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