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Massachusetts bans FDA-backed pain pill, Zohydro: ‘Dangerously addictive’

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A painkiller approved by the Food and Drug Administration is nonetheless being banned in the Bay State as Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said it's just too dangerously addictive to sell.

The painkiller is Zohydro, and it's been described by some medical officials as Oxycontin or oxycodone on steroids for its addictive qualities. Yet, the FDA has approved its use.

"Zohydro is a dangerously addictive pharmaceutical painkiller, approved by the FDA recently over the objection of their scientific advisory council and is not available in an abuse-deterrent form," Mr. Patrick said, in a recent speech reported by The Hill.

He went on: "Unless it is available in an abuse-deterrent form, or better, until the secretary of [Health and Human Services], or the Congress has acted on the requests to overturn the FDA, Zohydro will not be available in Massachusetts."

The company that makes the drug, Zogenix, isn't happy.

"Ultimately, the ban on the prescription medication will add to patient suffering the state," the company said, adding that the governor's actions were "unprecedented" and unfair, in a statement reported by Reuters.

Zohydro uses pure hydrocodone for pain control. Other painkillers that use hydrocodone mix it with weaker substances, like aspirin. Zohydro has up to 10 times as much hydrocodone as other popular painkillers, including Vicodin.

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