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Four drug companies are developing a more powerful version of the painkiller hydrocodone. One group dedicated to fighting prescription drug abuse is concerned this new drug has a large potential for abuse.

The new drug is pure hydrocodone, and contains up to 10 times the amount found in Vicodin, the Associated Press reports. Drugs currently on the market combine hydrocodone with nonaddictive painkillers such as acetaminophen, the article notes.

One company, Zogenix, plans to apply to the Food and Drug Administration early this year to market its new drug, Zohydro. It is a timed-release drug designed to manage moderate to severe pain. Opponents of the drug say they are concerned the drug could be crushed to release an immediate, intense high.

“I have a big concern that this could be the next OxyContin,” said April Rovero, President of the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse. “We just don’t need this on the market.”

Companies developing the new drug say it could avoid liver problems that can be caused by high doses of acetaminophen found in current hydrocodone products. They also note patients will have to visit their doctor every time they need more medication. Current hydrocodone products can be refilled up to five times.


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