FDA Approves Powerful Opioid Pill That’s 10 Times Stronger Than Fentanyl

07 November, 2018, 22:29 | Author: Kara Nash
  • FDA approves new opioid

Dsuvia, made by AcelRx Pharmaceuticals Inc., is a tablet in a single-dose, prefilled applicator to be administered under the tongue by health care providers to patients in settings such as hospitals, surgical centers and emergency rooms, according to the company. On October 12-so, not that long ago-AcelRx brought its sufentanil tablet Dsuvia before an FDA advisory committee.

"We won't sidestep what I believe is the real underlying source of discontent among the critics of this approval - the question of whether or not America needs another powerful opioid while in the throes of a massive crisis of addiction", Gottlieb said in his written statement. As part of the program, the drug maker will monitor distribution and audit wholesalers' data, evaluate proper use in the healthcare setting, and monitor for diversion or abuse and decertify any healthcare setting that is noncompliant. Dsuvia is an unnecessary opioid, they say, and its size and potency will appeal to people looking to sell or misuse it.

Kolodny called Dsuvia an "exceptionally dangerous" drug that is 10 times stronger than fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin.

An FDA advisory committee did recommend for approval of Dsuvia in a 10-3 vote last month. Most of that was the result of a record number of opioid-related deaths.

Gottlieb said military use of the drug was "carefully considered in this case" as the FDA wants to "make sure our soldiers have access to treatments that meet the unique needs of the battlefield". Dsuvia was approved by the European Medicines Agency in June under the name Dzuveo. But Raeford Brown, a professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics at the University of Kentucky who chairs the committee, then took the rare step of publicly condemning that decision and urging the FDA to reject the drug.


US regulators on Friday approved a fast-acting, super-potent opioid tablet as an alternative to IV painkillers used in hospitals.

At the same time, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb issued an unusual statement saying he would seek more authority for the agency to consider whether there are too many similar drugs on the market.

The United States continues to struggle with the opioid abuse epidemic.

Emalie Gainey, a spokeswoman for state Attorney General Maura Healey, said Healey has "serious concerns" about Dsuvia and "will be monitoring this closely". Dr. Gottlieb indicated the FDA will re-evaluate its consideration of individual and public health impacts of new approved opioids entering the market. Already, it's clear that in the context of the opioid crisis, "our evaluation of opioids is different than how we assess drugs in other therapeutic classes", Gottlieb noted.

There's more on pain control at the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

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