Society

Experts Warn About Zohydro, FDA-Approved 'Heroin in Pill Form'

| by Allison Geller

Doctors and medical experts are alarmed by reports of a new opiod that is five to 10 times stronger than Vicodin, with one ER doctor calling the pill “a drug dealer’s dream.”

“This is now putting a new drug on the market where one pill will kill a child,” Dr. Jim Keany of St. Joseph’s Hospital told CBS LA. "I am really concerned about the safety of the pediatric population."

The new drug, Zohydro, contains no protective ingredients like acetaminophen or Tylenol, as most painkillers do.

“Other drugs are mixed with Tylenol and nobody wants to inject all that Tylenol because they know it will wipe out their liver,” Keany said. "So the fact that this has no Tylenol, it’s the perfect drug of abuse for drug users."

Drug manufacturers have one small warning up on their website.

“Zohydro can cause opioid abuse even if you take your dose correctly as prescribed,” the Zohydro site reads.

The drug makers claim that Zohydro is intended to help patients with severe and chronic pain without damaging the liver.

Natalie Costa, producer of a documentary film about drug abuse called Behind the Orange Curtain, called the drug “heroin in pill form.”

“We are sitting on an explosion that’s about to happen,” she said. “It is far more dangerous than anything we have on the market right now.”

More than 40 experts came together to write a letter to the Food and Drug Administration urging the agency to take the drug off the market.

“In the midst of a severe drug addiction epidemic fueled by overprescribing of opioids, the very last thing the country needs is a new, dangerous, high-dose opioid,” the experts wrote to FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D.

“It will kill people as soon as it’s released,” stated Andrew Kolodny, president of the advocacy group Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.

Sources: CBS LA, Forbes