The FDA has recently approved a hydrocodone medication that has new abuse deterrent properties. The medication is called Hysingla ER and is an extended release hydrocodone medication. Hysingla ER's approval provides medical professionals with another option for managing pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock treatment. The goal of this medication is to potentially reduce hydrocodone abuse, by including new deterrent features.
According to the FDA, in pre-approval testing, Hysingla ER showed properties that are expected to reduce the likelihood of abuse. The ways that many hydrocodone medications are abused is by chewing the tablet and ingesting it orally, crushing it into powder to snort or by injecting it. It is important that Hysingla ER have abuse deterrent properties because immediate release hydrocodone medications are some of the most heavily abused medications on the market. When an extended release tablet is crushed or chewed, it immediately becomes immediate release and the potential for overdose is high because the addict is getting a full dose of hydrocodone at once which was meant to be spread out over a longer period of time.
A similar product was released earlier this year known as Zohydro ER. It is the only other FDA approved extended-release hydrocodone medication. but there are very important differences between the two painkillers. Hysingla ER has abuse deterrent properties to help deter people from abusing it, while Zohydro ER has no abuse deterrent properties at all. Zohydro ER can be easily abused by crushing or chewing the tablet.
The good news is that Hysingla is not expected to increase the amount of patients taking opiates. Medical professionals feel that patients who are already taking hydrocodone medications will be switched to these medications for convenience. The medication is not stronger than other opiate painkillers on the market. The highest tablet strength of Hysingla ER, is 120 mg, which is comparable in potency to the currently marketed medications strengths of extended-release morphine and hydromorphone products which, like Hysingla ER, are taken once daily.
Prescription opiates with abuse deterrent properties will not completely fix the opiate epidemic facing our country, but they can be part of a complex approach to help fight the epidemic. The FDA is doing a pretty good job trying to curb opiate abuse, but they have had their mishaps. Expect to see many more medications making their way onto the market over the next few years with more abuse deterrents to hopefully help curb the addiction going on in our country.