FDA approves opioid that's 10 times stronger than Fentanyl

Cole Sullivan # State

It is called Dsuvia and it is a tablet form of the same drug given to mothers during childbirth. Local hospitals say they don't plan to use it.

Despite concerns that it will worsen the opioid epidemic, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a super-powerful opioid drug that is ten times more potent than the deadly Fentanyl and 1000 times stronger than morphine.

The drug, Dsuvia, is made of the same medication that is given to women during childbirth via an epidural.

It will only be available for limited use in hospital emergency rooms and surgery centers, but some say it is still too dangerous for FDA approval given overdoses of prescription drugs have led to more deaths than any other illicit drug.

"It's a drug that's set up for abuse in my opinion,"
Dr. Jerry Epps, the chief medical officer at UT Medical Center.

He said UT Medical Center has no plans to use the medication at all. A spokesperson for Covenant Health said it doesn't plan to use the drug either.

"Our need for this medication is very, very limited,"
he said.
"If it were to be used it would be in our emergency room."

The drug was developed in coordination with the Department of Defense for soldiers seriously wounded on the battlefield.

"If you’re a medic on the battlefield and this guy has had his leg blown off and you’ve got a tunicate and he’s screaming in pain, you want to do something for that part of things,"
Epps said.

It is so powerful that Epps said it could be dangerous even if used correctly.

"This is a very potent drug and the dose that they are administering it in, which is 30 mics per tablet, that’s 300 mics of Fentanyl, which is a large dose. And if given all at once to someone who is naive to narcotics, they could stop breathing,"
he said.

Now that it has been approved for hospital use, Epps said there is a big question facing the industry and the country.

"The question is if this is the right time and place for us to introduce another formulation of an opioid that, in the wrong hands, has potentially life threatening effects,"
he said.