Living with Zohydro: Medical Community Reacts — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
April 24, 2014

Living with Zohydro: Medical Community Reacts

By Joe Elia

The problems brought to the fore by FDA approval of the extended-release opioid Zohydro are the focus of two perspectives in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The authors of the first write that the task of alleviating chronic pain is entangled with the danger of addiction, and they want federal agencies to offer guidance on addressing the two problems concomitantly. They also propose that prescription opioids meet basic abuse-deterrent standards during drug development.

The second perspective, written by the directors of various federal agencies, concerns medication-assisted therapies for addiction, such as methadone and buprenorphine, which they characterize as "markedly underutilized."

Meanwhile, Massachusetts announced restrictions on prescribing Zohydro after a federal judge overturned the state's attempt to ban it entirely. One restriction would require clinicians to draw up a risk assessment and pain management agreement with their patients; another would require prescribers to participate in a prescription-monitoring program.

Separately, FDA advisers on Tuesday voted 14-0 against recommending approval for Moxduo, NPR reported. A combination of morphine and oxycodone, Moxduo was feared by some to be more easily abused than Vicodin or Percocet.

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