Painkiller Injection Gets FDA Approval

An article on Reuters caught my eye the other day about a new painkiller injection getting approved by the FDA: Hospira’s non-opioid painkiller gets FDA approval.

With the federal government cracking down on opioid prescriptions lately, and narcotic medication use for patients with chronic pain becoming more of a controversial issue, I was interested to see what the article had to report about this new drug.

According to Hospira, the drug, Dyloject, can be used alone or in combination with non-opioid painkillers. Dyloject is part of the NSAID classification of drugs, and like other non-opioid injectable painkillers, it doesn’t take the place of opioids, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, etc. But, unlike previous injectable painkillers, Dyloject is designed to be administered within 15 seconds. Other injectable non-opioid painkillers need to be diluted prior to administration, and typically require an infusion of 15 to 30 minutes for a full dose, says Hospira. So, with this new drug, you can inject the dose faster and then it presumably also works faster. But does it actually work, no matter how fast or efficiently you can shoot it into your body?

I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, but before reading this very brief article, I was unaware of the existence of non-opioid injectable painkillers. Why hasn’t my rheumatologist ever brought up this option to me? Is it ineffective for RA pain? I’m sure it’s not comparable to the sweet relief of Vicodin or Percocet, but I’m guessing it’s better than choking down several pills of ibuprofen or naproxen a day and less time-consuming and easier on your stomach. But honestly, I have no idea, and I’m going to have to research this further.

The article also states the high death toll from opioid prescription drugs (more than 16,500 deaths reported in the U.S. in 2010) and alludes to the approval of Dyloject as another way to try to “curb rising opioid-prescription drug abuse.”

In a previous article I wrote recently, I was angered by the new FDA regulations regarding obtaining and filling prescriptions for opioid painkillers, and how these restrictions make life a lot harder for patients who have chronic pain and legitimately needs these medications.

I’m all for finding alternative medications and treatments to help alleviate pain for people who suffer from RA and other painful chronic diseases. If these non-opioid injections work well, then that’s great. But if they don’t or they don’t relieve the pain enough, patients should still be able to have access to opioid medications. And they shouldn’t have to jump through a million hoops to get them. As a young person who has suffered from RA pain every day for 17 years, and does not have any sort of addiction to painkiller drugs, this is just my humble opinion, of course.

So I’m curious: Have any of you RA patients tried these non-opioid injectable medications? Do you have any additional insights on these treatments? I’m very curious to learn more about this and to see what additional developments will emerge due to all of the “rampant opioid drug abuse” (which I often wonder is a bit sensationalized in the media?).

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