A new opioid tablet that is 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.
FDA approved the new sublingual formulation of ‘Sufentanil’ -- called Dsuvia -- for the management of severe pain.
The painkiller Dsuvia will be restricted to limited use only in health care settings, such as hospitals, surgery centers and emergency rooms, but critics worry the opioid will fuel an already grim opioid epidemic.
Many prominent people urged the FDA not to approve Dsuvia last month, saying “an opioid that is a thousand times more powerful than morphine is a thousand times more likely to be abused, and a thousand times more likely to kill."
As a report published recently shows that prescription drugs were responsible for the most overdose deaths of any illicit drugs since 2001.
Dsuvia will not be available at retail pharmacies or for any home use. The medication, which comes in a single-use package, also should not be used for more than 72 hours. The medicine comes in a tablet that can dissolve under the tongue. Side effects of the potent drug include extreme tiredness, breathing problems, coma and death.
Military use of the drug is also being "carefully considered in this case".
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