It seems that every year we are introduced to a new “miracle drug,” a drug that is supposed to help us, “With no side effects, with no harmful phenomena, and with no risks for addiction.” Wouldn’t that be great? Unfortunately, we’ve been sold that line for about nineteen years, and it’s never been the reality of the situation.
Every time a new pharmaceutical drug comes out, every time some fancy substance hits the shelves, every time a new painkiller or antidepressant gets released, it’s only a matter of time before a significant percentage of those taking the drug experience negative side effects from the drug, or become addicted to the drug. That is exactly what is happening now with Zohydro, the supposed replacement for OxyContin, and a supposed “addiction-free, tamper-resistant opioid.” If only we could be so fortunate to actually get a drug like that.
But alas, no painkiller exists that is not addictive, because every painkiller out there has opioids in them, and opioids are very addictive.
The truth about Zohydro is that it is not that much different from OxyContin. It was innovated a few years ago when Purdue Pharma was coming under fire for extreme addiction problems that cropped up thanks to patients using OxyContin. Even patients who were using OxyContin exactly as prescribed were falling prey to addictions to it.
Zohydro was brought into our minds around 2012. That’s when it was first mentioned, and that’s when we first began to hear about it thanks to extensive marketing of the drug. First, the drug went up for approval from the Food and Drug Administration, and there it was met with a great deal of contention. Purdue Pharma was promoting Zohydro like it was this miracle painkiller drug, while at the same time Purdue Pharma was facing multiple lawsuits for the deaths of those who overdosed on OxyContin. The FDA was aware of all of that.
While most do not know it, the FDA actually did not want to initially approve Zohydro. In 2012, an eleven to two vote actually declined Zohydro for approval. But the makers of Zohydro continued to apply pressure on the FDA until the FDA finally conceded. Purdue Pharma and another drug maker, Zogenix, had collaborated on Zohydro, and the applied pressure from two, big-name pharmaceutical manufacturers like these bent the backs of weak-willed FDA officials. The FDA finally allowed a drug that never should have been approved to be approved.
Keep in mind that Zohydro was pitched and marketed like it was a miracle drug, like it was, “Not like all of the other drugs,” like it was something special. The marketing approach for Zohydro was to make it look like it was something new and special when really it was just another opioid with a different label slapped on it.
And Zohydro is not any different from any other opioid substance out there. There are still extremely unpleasant side effect risks. Consider just some of the side effects on the drug brought to us from rxlist.com:
This is not even a full list of all of the phenomena that people who are on Zohydro experience. It is not the miracle, safe, exemplary drug with no harmful risks or side effects that it is often promoted as being. In fact, it has just as long a list of side-effects and just as present of a risk for addiction as other opioid drugs painkiller drugs do.
Are we going to keep accepting the same “solutions” over and over again, in the form of opioid painkillers? It has already been twenty years that we’ve had prescription drugs that are supposed to be “miracle cures” for pain practically forced down our throats. When will we stop believing the hype and the marketing?
We need to work on other solutions to pain. What we’re doing isn’t working. Millions addicted, hundreds of thousands dead, and billions of dollars spent trying to fix opioid addiction should be indicators enough that this is a sinking ship we need to get off of before it takes us all down with it.
We need to insist on other, non-opioid-based solutions to pain relief and pain remedies. These are what are going to save lives, these are what are going to fulfill our lives and pull us out of the morass that is an addiction to the very drugs that are supposed to help us. We can’t just put all our eggs in one basket with “abuse-deterrent” opioids because they do not work. They’re still just as addictive as other opioid painkillers are. We need pain relief, yes, but we need pain relief that does not create hundreds of thousands of addicts every year.