Consumer Reports: Push for ban on new pain pill Zohydro E-R

NEW YORK (WABC) -- 30-year old Devin never expected to be addicted to prescription drugs.

"It affected my life pretty seriously. I started doing things that I never thought I would do," she said.

After having a tooth pulled, Devin was given Vicodin and then Percocet to ease the pain. Both are powerful and can be addictive. Use of those, as well as OxyContin and other opioids, has skyrocketed in recent years.

In fact, Vicodin and its generic, hydrocodone, are now the most commonly prescribed drugs in America.

46 people a day - almost 17,000 people a year - die from overdoses of opioids. And more than 500,000 people a year are admitted to the ER because of opioid use, many unconscious or barely breathing.

With numbers like that, Consumer Reports was surprised by a recent Food and Drug Administration decision.

"The FDA went against the overwhelming recommendation of its own advisory committee -- and approved another version of hydrocodone -- called Zohydro E-R. Doctors have been prescribing it since March," said Lisa Gill.

Consumer Reports and attorneys general from 28 states are calling for the FDA to reconsider its approval of Zohydro E-R.

"It offers no clear advantage over other drugs that are currently on the market, and its potency makes it yet another target for misuse and abuse," adds Gill.

Meanwhile, Devin, who has gone eight months without taking an opioid, hopes that by sharing his story someone else will be spared.

Of course, there are cases where prescribing opioids is necessary. If you and your doctor decide your condition warrants using these potent painkillers, Consumer Reports cautions - take them exactly as directed and be certain not to combine them with sleeping pills or alcohol.
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