FDA approves new, powerful drug amidst opioid crisis

FDA approves new, powerful drug amidst opioid crisis
Dsuvia would be administered with a single-dose applicator. (Source: AcelRx)

SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - The F.D.A. has approved a new, powerful opioid to manage pain in adults. Dsuvia is 10 times stronger than fetanyl, and 1,000 more potent than morphine.

Jessica Zeilman became addicted to opioids after being prescribed pain medication by her doctor, which is why she’s concerned the FDA approved Dsuvia.

FDA approves new version of powerful opioid

More than 30,000 Americans died of opioid overdoses last year, according to the CDC, which is why Zeilman calls the oral medication a death sentence.

“Not only do you have something that you’re covering in their pain that they can’t manage to get above then eventually that level of narcotic is not going to work,” said Zeilman of the drug possibly leading to addiction.

“I think the concern is that there is a new drug on the market, there is a new place and a new way and various and illegal activity can be done,” explained Dr. Joseph Seaman, Chief of Staff for Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

According to Dr. Seaman, Dsuvia is only used for patients in need of quick relief.

“Traditionally, you’d have to have an iv placed and have to put an iv medication through and it takes a few minutes for the medication to work,” said Dr. Seaman.

Dsuvia can only be given in a hospital or surgical setting, meaning the patient cannot take the drug at home. Patients can only use Dsuvia for up to 72 hours because of the possibility of overdose.

“If they stop breathing or their heart stops while not being properly monitored then they would ultimately pass away,” he stated.

Zeilman recommends asking your doctor questions before taking opioids, knowing one more drug on the market could lead to one more person stuck in the cycle of addiction.

“I mean I would ask yourself ‘is it worth it?’” said Zeilman.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., released a lengthy statement regarding the drug’s approval, reading, in part: “the drug is delivered in a stable form that makes it ideally suited for certain special circumstances where patients may not be able to swallow oral medication, and where access to intravenous pain relief is not possible. This includes potential uses on the battlefield. For this reason, the Department of Defense (DoD) worked closely with the sponsor on the development of this new medicine. This opioid formulation, along with Dsuvia’s unique delivery device, was a priority medical product for the Pentagon because it fills a specific and important, but limited, unmet medical need in treating our nation’s soldiers on the battlefield. The involvement and needs of the DoD in treating soldiers on the battlefield were discussed by the advisory committee.”

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