Painkiller 10x stronger than Vicodin to hit market - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Painkiller 10x stronger than Vicodin to hit market

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AMARILLO, Texas----A painkiller not even on the market yet is already causing concerns among doctors.

Zohydro is said to be more powerful than any other pain medication on the market today.

But with a stronger punch, comes a stronger push for more tests to be done before the drug hits the market.

Pharmaceutical companies are already testing out Zohydro, medication designed to help those cope with chronic pain.

"There are people with cancer and people with severe chronic muscular skeletal problems who really do need chronic narcotic pain relievers to be able to live," Roger Smalligan with the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center said.

Currently undergoing testing in patients, Zohydro contains pure Hydrocodone which is said to be as much as 10 times stronger than painkillers like Vicodin.

"There are a lot of patients that suffer from chronic pain and have tried many different strategies and this would just be a new agent to try and see if it relieves their pain," Jenie Jaramillo with Poison Control said.

Some say this pill may be too powerful, and one that doesn't need to be in medicine cabinets.

"What we worry about is just what we worry about with all painkillers---they are highly addictive," Smalligan said.

This we're told could open the door for abuse.

"We get calls everyday from teens and adults who have ingested Hydrocodone containing products and some of those cases do lead to death," Jaramillo said.

According to the CDC, 15,000 people die each year from prescription overdose and abuse.

"Hyrdocodone is the No. 2 abused prescription drug in the U.S. already," Smalligan said.

This leaves many to wonder what Zohydro may bring to the list of abused medications.

The drug is still pending FDA approval.

We're told the painkiller can hit the market this year or in the early part of 2013.

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