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This New Painkiller Nasal Spray Is So Dangerous It Has a 100-Page Safety Guide

Despite mounting evidence that the extremely addictive painkiller fentanyl is causing an abuse epidemic that has led to hundreds of deaths, the FDA approved a nasal spray version of the drug late last month. The drug, named Lazanda and sold by Archimedes Pharma, is intended only for cancer patients experiencing "breakthrough" pain.

But it delivers such a powerful, addictive high that recreational users can't get enough. It's also unusually dangerous: Fentanyl affects a users' breathing, frequently resulting in death. The FDA knows fentanyl is dangerous. Its approval of Lazanda comes with a 100-page safety guide that Archimedes must implement before it can sell that product. The FDA's post-marketing safety guide warns repeatedly that a side effect of Lazanda -- like all fentanyl products -- is death.

Yet the mere existence of a new, snortable version of fentanyl is likely to lead to confusion among doctors and nurses as the new drug is not one-for-one convertible with other forms of the drug (it also comes as a pill, patch, lollipop, or intravenous drip):

Lazanda is not bioequivalent with any other fentanyl product (regardless of route of administration), and that substitution may result in fatal overdose.

... patients switching from another fentanyl product to Lazanda must not be converted on a microgram-per-microgram basis.

Hundreds of deaths
Although OxyContin and its variants get all the headlines when it comes to prescription medicine abuse, fentanyl is a major part of America's drug problem. Here are some headlines just from the last month:
The fentanyl abuse epidemic appears to be occurring mostly in middle America, where oxycodone already made inroads. It's not making headlines in New York or Los Angeles, where the major media are based. So most reporting on the issue is appearing only in local media, which is why so few people seem to realize how out of control fentanyl is.

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