On Friday the Food and Drug Administration approved Zohydro ER which is a stronger, single-ingredient version of hydrocodone. For some this news is frightening, for others, a relief. Zohydro is as a stronger version of the already widely known and abused prescription painkiller hydrocodone. Zohydro is an extended-release pill that is meant to help those that need hydrocodone’s help for a longer amount of time. The FDA has approved this powered up hydrocodone!
14 years ago Dr. Ronald Dougherty tried to increase restrictions on such drugs to make it more difficult to be prescribed painkillers that contain hydrocodone due to its addictive nature. Now the doctor is retired, but in 1999 he created the first petition with the FDA that attempted to move medicine in the schedule 3 category to the schedule 2 category.
Drugs that are prescribed under the schedule 3 category can be refilled up to five times before a doctor is needed to renew the prescription if more is necessary. Drugs that are prescribed under the schedule 2 category are considered more intense and do not allow for refill per each 90-day prescription.
Dougherty has run multiple detox clinics and treatment programs but in 1968 he started his first clinic in order to help those that returned from the Vietnam War that were addicted to heroin. Dougherty filled for such restrictions because he has seen the negative results that have come from it and other medicine, his intend is purely for the welfare of others.
The newly approved Zohydro ER falls under the schedule 2 category. For some this is not enough. Representative Bill Keating is upset due to the lack of anti-abuse methods implemented. “FDA not only approves this dangerous drug, but does so without requiring any abuse-deterrent features. This is outrageous,” Keating believes that there should be more in the way of preventing people form using the drug in less than medical sense, he continued to say, “abuse-deterrent technologies should not be the anomaly, they must be the norm.”
To those paying attention this comes as a shock. One day prior the FDA made the announcement that it would put forth effort to adhere to stronger restrictions on drugs that contain hydrocodone. Vicodin is included in this list along with dozens of others. The FDA also stated that it would recommend combination drugs containing hydrocodone be moved into schedule 2 instead of schedule 3.
Those that are fearful of the new Zohydro should know that the manufacturer intends to begin studies that pay close attention to the abuse of Zohydro when patients continue to use it for more than 12 weeks.
Even though the FDA has approved of the powered up hydrocodone, Zohydro ER, it has also placed it into schedule 2 making it harder for patients to get their hands on which will make it harder for individuals to refill and sell or abuse. Although it has taken a long time Dougherty’s ambition has begun to take off.
Written By: Garrett Jutte