Super-Potent Opioid Wins FDA Approval

Dsuvia will be tightly controlled, the FDA promises
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2018 10:50 AM CST
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This image provided by AcelRx shows the dispenser and a tablet for Dsuvia.   (Craig Sherod Photography/AcelRx Pharmaceuticals via AP)

(Newser) – It's called Dsuvia, and the potency of this opioid is hard to fathom: It's up to 1,000 times stronger than morphine and up to 10 times stronger than fentanyl, reports USA Today. Despite the worries of critics that it will add to the nation's opioid problem, the painkiller from AcelRx won FDA approval on Friday, per the AP. The big selling point of Dsuvia—which contains the painkiller sufentanil—is that it can be given to patients easily in place of an IV. The Pentagon, in particular, likes that option for soldiers on the battlefield.

In a statement, the FDA promises "very tight restrictions" on the drug, but that's not appeasing critics. "It is certain that Dsuvia will worsen the opioid epidemic and kill people needlessly," says Dr. Sidney Wolfe of the nonprofit Public Citizen's Health Research Group, per ABC News. The drug is expected to be available to medical facilities early next year and cost $50 to $60 per pill. (The DEA just released some scary stats about opioid deaths.)

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