Sunday, December 1, 2013


I'd say....
But I never like to state the obvious.

For those of us in the chronic pain community, we know how difficult it is to receive adequate treatment. If we tell the truth about our pain, we are considered neurotic. If we underplay it, we obviously don't need medication. 

There's no easy way to play it.

On October 25, 2013 the FDA drew huge praises from the addiction community by moving hydrocodone with acetominaphen to a Schedule 2 narcotic. What this means is that instead of going back to your physician every six months for followup, you have to return in three months. In addition, the doctor cannot call in your refills. You must hand the prescription to the pharmacist personally. They have made it harder to get Lortab, Vicodin and other addictive painkillers. They are supposed to make painkillers harder to abuse. For example, they inject Oxycontin with a gel that makes it harder to crushed and snorted. This kind of abuse deterrent is supposed to be a public health priority. 

So what did they do?
They approved Zohydro. 

Zohydro is a long acting opioid. This drug is not intended for as-needed use. This is for patients who need long term, around the clock treatment. Obviously, you wouldn't get this for a tooth extraction. 

This drug is not messing around. You can't drink alcohol. Let's face it, you're not supposed to drink with any pain medication but alcohol with this medication can result in fatal hydrocodone plasma levels in the blood. You even have to be careful taking anything that contains alcohol. This can even mean cough syrup.

You are also instructed by the insert to swallow Zohydro whole otherwise it can be fatal. 
This is their strong stance against substance abuse?

So what that tells me, this drug has the ability to be crushed up and snorted. To be fair, the makers of Zohydro have contracted with a Canadian company to come up with an abuse deterrent formula but who knows how long that will take. This drug was meant for cancer patients but everyone knows it will be on the street soon enough. Pill mills will push these babies out and they can be crushed, snorted and will kill people.

I love the insert on this drug. When addressing who should be prescribed this drug they talk about the opioid "naive." WHAT?? I've never heard that phrase before and I'm not sure I like the way that sounds.

What does this mean to me? It means people will start abusing this powerful drug and many will die. The people who it is intended for will have a hard time getting it after the stats start coming in. People need to be out of pain but because of pill mills and addicts those who truly need opioid therapy will be out of luck.

I thought the difference between Schedule 3 and Schedule 2 narcotics, as far as the refill requirements, was interesting. I live in Nevada and I have to go every 30 days to the doctor for a refill. 

Go every three months?

Not even close.

And you better not take it to a new pharmacy either.

They probably won't fill it.


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