Amidst a growing opioid crisis, the FDA approves new drug 10 tim - FOX34 Lubbock

Amidst a growing opioid crisis, the FDA approves new drug 10 times stronger than fentanyl

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

On average, 115 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose, according to the Center for Disease Control.

In the midst of this opioid epidemic, the FDA recently approved a new drug called Dsuvia, which has a potency stronger than any opioid currently on the market.

It is 10 times stronger than fentanyl, and up to 1,000 times more powerful than morphine.

Allen Cunningham, the clinical pharmacy manager for Covenant Medical Center, said it is a medication few patients would ever need.

"The likelihood of someone needing to get this level of acute pain management strategy is really hard to picture. We just don't see patients that require this level of pain control, typically," Cunningham said.

In a statement, the FDA explained how the military application of this drug is a big part of why it was approved, and Dsuvia will not be available in retail pharmacies, as it will only be administered in hospital settings as a single dose. 

While the FDA gave this opioid a stamp of approval, Cunningham said Covenant Medical Center may not be as receptive. 

"It's just very difficult for us to now bring in one of these drugs when today, we're under so much scrutiny with the regulatory agencies to minimize the use of the opioids. So it's going to be difficult to consider having this one here at Covenant for us," Cunningham said.

In fact, Cunningham said he believes Dsuvia is unnecessary, given the options already out there. 

"With its potency, we have number of different medications that we can treat pain effectively for those folks and not get to that level of pain relief that would be required. We can treat those very effectively not only with the opioids that we already have on the market, but a number of non-opioid options that are able to be given to the patient as well," Cunningham said.

While strict regulations will be in place, he said the risk of an opioid this powerful hitting the market outweighs any benefit it may bring. 

"With the potency of this drug and the risks associated with it, it's very difficult to justify bringing this into the market," Cunningham said.

Last year, Dsuvia was rejected by an FDA advisory committee because of a lack of data. 

It is expected to be available in the first quarter of next year. 

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