Zohydro is the brand name of an extremely powerful opiate painkiller currently under development by the pharmaceutical company of San Diego, Zogenix. Zohydro painkillers have the same active ingredient, hydrocodone, as Vicodin. However, Zohydro is a completely pure form of hydrocodone while Vicodin is a mixture of hydrocodone and the non-addictive painkiller acetaminophen, commonly known as Tylenol. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, hydrocodone is second only to oxycodone as the most-abused drug in the United States. And some are worried that Zohydro may become the next Oxycontin when it comes to prescription pain pill drug abuse.
Zohydro To Hit The Market As Soon As 2013
Three other pharmaceutical companies in addition to Zogenix have begun patient testing of pure hydrocodone pills. And this is a pain killer that all drug rehab treatment centers need to be concerned about. Zogenix has completed three rounds of patient testing and is in talks currently with the FDA about its drug application. Plans by Zogenix are to have the application filed in early 2012 and have Zohydro on the market by early 2013. Zogenix is the closest pharmaceutical company to having its product on the market. Egalet, another pharmaceutical company, could have a pure hydrocodone product on the market as soon as 2015, however it is waiting to see how Zogenix and other pharmaceutical companies fare with the FDA before going forward.
Hydrocodone products are the most frequently prescribed prescription medications in the United States. The United States consumes 99% of the world’s hydrocodone. Hydrocodone abuse, like Oxycontin abuse, can lead to death even in those who just abuse it occasionally. Since Zohydro is a time-release drug, abusers could crush it and achieve an intense high. Zohydro painkillers are being criticized even before their release because of the probability of Zohydro addiction in patients prescribed it for moderate to severe pain legitimately as well as Zohydro abuse by non-patients.
It’s not all bad however. Zohydro and other pure hydrocodone products would lower the risk of liver problems due to high dosages of acetaminophen. In addition, patients will be more closely monitored for signs of Zohydro addiction or abuse since they will have to return to their doctor each time they need a refill. We hope that there are even stronger processes and policies in place than those currently for Oxycontin.
Zohydro Could Be Much More Addictive Than Other Hydrocodone Drugs
Hydrocodone overdose, and consequently Zohydro overdose, can lead to serious symptoms such as coma, seizures, cardiac arrest, and even death. Zohydro painkillers will be much more addictive than other hydrocodone drugs which are not pure hydrocodone. In fact, some say that Zohydro will be at least 10 times more powerful than another abused prescription pain medication, Vicodin. Hydrocodone has already been shown to be habit-forming and can lead to addiction. Zohydro addiction will most likely be far more prevalent among both legitimate patients and those who abuse it illegally.
Hydrocodone withdrawal can lead to several unpleasant symptoms which can cause the user to want to continue to use hydrocodone. These symptoms are generally not life-threatening but can cause the patient or illegal user to seek medical attention. Some symptoms of withdrawal include vomiting, diarrhea, elevated blood pressure, and tachycardia. These symptoms of withdrawal can be frightening and cause a person to simply continue using hydrocodone to avoid them. In addition, after time, opiates such as Zohydro become less effective, forcing patients to take increasingly larger doses.
Zohydro abuse is set to become the next major medical epidemic when it comes to substance abuse. With tens of thousands of visits to emergency departments already because of hydrocodone and Oxycontin abuse, that number is sure to increase into the hundreds of thousands. Due to Zohydro painkillers there will most likely be incredible amounts of money lost by hospitals in treating Zohydro overdose patients. In addition, pharmacies will be robbed by abusers trying to get the prescription medication. Individuals addicted to Zohydro painkillers will need to be treated for their addiction and withdrawal symptoms by drug rehabilitation centers. Zohydro abuse could easily surpass oxycodone abuse in the United States in the coming years. There will be some patients whom will legitimately have their pain lessened by this powerful drug, but is letting Zohydro come to market worth the extensive risks to society as a whole?