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Carol Eustice

Curious Decisions the FDA Has Made Regarding Pain Medications

By December 6, 2013

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In January 2013, we reported that the FDA was considering a move that would assign hydrocodone combination drugs to schedule II rather than their current schedule III. The move was recommended by an advisory panel to the FDA. The intended result was more stringent prescribing practices for the hydrocodone drugs. Arthritis and chronic pain patients got a little stirred up by the news which came less than 3 years after Darvocet was taken off the market by the FDA. Why was the potential abuse of these drugs being given more attention than access for people who live with pain day in and day out?

Just about the time patients settled into the way it would be came news that Zohydro ER was being approved by the FDA. Interestingly, an advisory committee had recommended against approval of Zohydro ER because of concerns over potential abuse and misuse -- yet the FDA approved it. Are you confused yet? You should be. Darvocet was removed after being on the market for more than 50 years! The FDA is getting more strict with prescribing practices for hydrocodone products. And then, the FDA approves Zohydro ER against advisory panel recommendations. How did this all happen? The New Yorker has taken on the task of explaining it to us (no explanation for Darvocet though -- the drug that after 50 years caused arrhythmia.) Read the New Yorker article Why Did the FDA Approve a New Pain Drug?

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