A new opioid tablet 1,000 times more potent than morphine and 10 times stronger than fentanyl was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday as a fast-acting alternative to IV painkillers used in hospitals.
The analgesic Dsuvia will be limited to limited use only in medical facilities such as hospitals, operations centers and emergency rooms. However, critics fear that the opioid will trigger an already gloomy opioid epidemic.
Massachusetts Democratic senator Ed Markey urged the FDA not to approve the analgesic last month. to say: "An opioid, which is a thousand times stronger than morphine, is abused a thousand times more frequently and killed a thousand times more often."
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement that "very tight restrictions" would apply to Dsuvia.
Dsuvia will not be available in pharmacies or for home use, said Gottlieb. The drug, which comes in a single-use packaging, should not be used for more than 72 hours. The medicine comes in a tablet that dissolves under the tongue. Side effects of the strong drug include extreme fatigue, breathing problems, coma and death.
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Gottlieb said the drug's military use was "carefully considered in this case" as the FDA "wants to ensure that our soldiers have access to treatments that meet the unique needs of the battlefield".
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The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets
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