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Opioid crisis notwithstanding, drug 1,000 times stronger than morphine approved by FDA

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Rick Solem

It’s 10 times stronger than fentanyl and 1,000 times stronger than morphine.

The drug is called Dsuvia and was just approved by the FDA.

This undated image provided by AcelRx Pharmaceuticals shows the dispenser and a tablet for the company’s medication Dsuvia. On Nov. 2, U.S. regulators announced the approval of the fast-acting, super-potent opioid tablet as an alternative to IV painkillers used in hospitals.
(Photo: Craig Sherod, AP)

While some states are suing drug manufacturers because of the opioid crisis, and others, like Wisconsin, are spending significant time and effort fighting the impacts of massive amounts of opioid addiction and overdoses.

The federal government is apparently ready to double down on fighting pain with even stronger opioids.

Dsuvia is already given through an IV but will be produced now in pill form and would go under the tongue. Side effects of the drug apparently include tiredness, breathing problems, coma and death.

With the pill form application, Dsuvia will be easier to traffic, says Dr. Chris Eberlein, co-chair of the Alliance to HEAL in La Crosse, though he isn’t sure on the ease of producing the drug.

It is offered mainly for those on the battlefield, who are having issues. Eberlein says area hospitals will probably pass.

“I’m not sure how much utility it would have in a hospital a setting,” Eberlein said. “In order to get something like this safely, in my opinion, in a hospital, you’d need to be fully monitored with an IV and, in that case, you would have a lot of other options.”

Eberlein says it’s a curious decision by the FDA as it also tries to curb the nation’s opioid epidemic.

The news comes just days after the Drug Enforcement Administration released a report showing prescription drugs were responsible for the most overdose deaths of any illicit drugs since 2001.
 

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