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New Potent Painkiller Sparks Concerns Of A Prescription Drug War: Addiction Experts Brace For Another Wave Of Addictions
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New Potent Painkiller Sparks Concerns Of A Prescription Drug War: Addiction Experts Brace for Another Wave Of Addictions

Four separate drug makers are announcing their plans for a more potent, purer form of hydrocodone, the active ingredient in drugs like Vicodin, Lortab and of course, OxyContin leading to serious concerns among agencies that will be faced with dealing with the end results of those drugs. Teva Pharmaceuticals, a drug company based in Israel has announced that their version of the drug, TD Hydrocodone has entered final testing stages. The company has not applied for Food and Drug Administration approval at this time, but that step is likely to occur in the very near future. That drug alone is likely to bring in billions of dollars in profits from yearly sales.

William Marth, Chief Executive of Teva Pharmaceutical's North American division gave a preview of the proposed drug to investors in San Francisco saying that that drug could be on the market "soon". The painkiller would likely replace some of the money that is potentially going to be lost when the patent for Copaxone expires in two years. That drug is used to treat multiple sclerosis.

Experts are concerned not only with the flood of medications containing hydrocodone but the level that some are reportedly going to contain. According to the National Institute of Health, Teva is testing their drug as a twelve hour, extended release pill that will have more than four times as much of the pain killer hydrocodone in it than other, current medications on the market. Vicodin, a commonly prescribed pain medication, has no more than ten milligrams per dose and is typically mixed with another pain reliever. The tested medication will have 45 milligrams of hydrocodone and will not be mixed with anything at all.

Teva Pharmaceuticals is not the only company testing a high powered, pure hydrocodone medication. Zogenix, based in San Diego has announced that it will file its own application for approval of Zohydro, another pure hydrocodone medication. Purdue Pharmaceuticals, based in Stamford, Connecticut and Egalet, based in Denmark have both also announced that they are working on versions of the medication. Purdue Pharmaceuticals is the maker of OxyContin.

When it was released in the 1990's, OxyContin became a major problem, even earning a derisive nickname "Hillbilly Heroin", leading to problems with rampant drug addiction and other ancillary crimes.

Experts have said that the medications are needed for pain management especially with the increased number of elderly patients in the US. But others, including drug addiction counselors are concerned that the new, stronger medications will spark a new wave of addictions and abuse.


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