Earlier on this blog, we shared that the San Diego pharmaceutical company Zogenix was planning to file an application in early 2011 to release its new drug—Zohydro. This product would put the *opioid drug hydrocodone on the market for the first time in its 100% pure form. (Traditionally, hydrocodone has been mixed with non-addictive drugs like acetaminophen.)
Just recently, though, Teva Pharmaceuticals, also announced that they are working on their own version of this pill. And there are rumblings that several other companies are working on similar products. Even if one company chooses not to go ahead with its product, it appears that another company will be there to take its place.
So it seems inevitable that a pure form of the addictive drug hydrocodone will probably be on the market in the near future.
What is so dangerous about having a pure form of Hydrocodone on the market?
- In the Opiate Family: Hydrocodone is part of the family of opiates (drugs that are chemically similar to opium). You might be more familiar with the morphine and oxycodone opiates. But any pure opiate can be addictive.
- Pretty Addictive: Hydrocodone in its pure form (or when the amount of hydrocodone in a drug exceeds 15 mg) has been labeled a Schedule II drug, but when it is mixed with a non-addictive drug, it is labeled only as a Schedule III drug. (The government uses the Schedule rating to help classify which drugs are more or less addictive. Schedule I is the most addictive contains the most addictive drugs.)
- Not Tamper Proof: The hydrocodone in Vicodin typically contains no more than 10 milligrams of hydrocodone mixed with acetaminophen, but Teva pills seem to be containing 45 milligrams. Even though the pills are designed to be extended-release, critics are worried that it will be easy to crush the pill to get a quick high.
Anytime a potentially addictive product hits the markets, the threat of abuse rises. Sometimes it’s from the patient; sometimes it’s from someone close to the patient who also has access to the drugs. Sometimes it’s from criminals who want to make money.
Either way, it appears that more of a pretty addictive drug in its pure form, hydrocodone, will be on the market soon, creating another option for prescription drug abuse.