New pain pill’s approval: ‘Genuinely frightening’

Editor’s Note: For more on Zohydro, tune in to “Sanjay Gupta MD” at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday and 7:30 a.m. ET Sunday.

Story highlights

Coalition of health, consumer groups express concern about painkiller Zohydro

The hydrocodone-based drug is set to be available in March

One expert says FDA-approved drug is five times more potent than current medications

"It will kill people as soon as it's released," one doctor says.

CNN  — 

A potent little painkiller is causing a big stir.

A coalition of more than 40 health care, consumer and addiction treatment groups is urging the Food and Drug Administration to revoke approval of the prescription drug Zohydro.

The hydrocodone-based drug is the latest in a long line of painkillers called opioid analgesics. The FDA approved the medication last fall to treat chronic pain, and it is set to become available to patients in March.

“In the midst of a severe drug epidemic fueled by overprescribing of opioids, the very last thing the country needs is a new, dangerous, high-dose opioid,” the coalition wrote in a letter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg.

“Too many people have already become addicted to similar opioid medications, and too many lives have been lost.”