Could New Opioid Wreak Havoc on Workers Comp?

zohydro-extended-release-capsules-8A new painkiller is set to hit the market this month, and even though it was approved by the FDA is coming under fire from doctors and lawmakers alike for how powerful the drug will be and their fear that it will have dangerous and deadly outcomes.

Zohydro will be the new opioid to hit the market, it was approved by the FDA even after it own advisory board voted 11-2 against the approval.  The FDA believes that this drug is necessary in the marketplace for patients who are unfazed or beyond the current medications that are out there.

Even though the drug has not been released just yet groups of doctors are urging the FDA to consider approval of this medication.  The new drug is believed to be five to ten times strong then Vicodin – which is a combination of hydrocodone and  acetaminophen.  Zohydro will be a capsule of pure hydrocodone.  Many doctors believe that the addition of the acetaminophen to the hydrocodone tends to be a deterrent from people overdosing because of the harm that too much acetaminophen can do to the liver.  Now with a straight super potent dose of hydrocodone what is to stop a patient from taking too much to either curb the pain or get that “high,” doctors are warning that Zohydro is so potent that two pills have the potential to kill someone.  Also as with other painkiller when they are crushed or snorted or taken in another way not intended they lose their efficacy, this will not hold true with Zohydro – it will be just as effective no matter the means it is ingested.

There are doctors out there that do believe Zohydro will be a good drug for patients who have chronic pain issues, or have been on opioids for so long that they are just not effective anymore.

All in all as with any medication if it is monitored and prescribed properly it can be effective, and narcotic out there has the potential for abuse and can be dangerous to a patient if abused.  We have seen and written many stories about the ever serious epidemic of opioid abuse in the workers comp arena.  This will just add another drug into the physicians arsenal that can lead to that potential for abuse.  Judging by how strong this drug is expected to be I do not believe that this would be a first choice for doctors to prescribe.  This looks like it will be a drug for long term chronic and debilitating injuries.  Even then there is still the potential to overdose no matter how much tolerance you think you have.  I believe that the FDA has done their due diligence and obviously sees some benefit to this drug being in the marketplace.  I wonder if we will see an influx of this showing up on worker comp medical forms once it becomes available.  Only time will tell.

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