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.Hundreds of deaths
... patients switching from another fentanyl product to Lazanda must not be converted on a microgram-per-microgram basis.
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 band Slipknot began a recent concert with 2 minutes of silence in remembrance of bass player Paul Gray (pictured), who was killed last year by a fentanyl overdose.
- North Carolina has seen 500 deaths in the last 10 years from fentanyl.
- In Winchester, Va., a Woman was charged with homicide in two fentanyl overdose deaths.
- 11 non-fatal overdose cases were reported in Camden, N.J., from heroin laced with fentanyl.
- In Laconia, N.H., a mother and son died from fentanyl overdoses just prior to the July 4 weekend. Fatal ODs of all kinds in the state went from 40 in 1999 to 164 in 2009, exceeding homicides and road fatalities combined.
- In Fairborn, Ohio, a pharmacy robbed for fentanyl.
- The DEA says armed robberies at pharmacies rose 81 percent between 2006 and 2010, to 686 that year, with the number of stolen pills rising from 706,000 to 1.3 million.
- Drug Execs to Face Interrogation on Lethally Addictive Painkiller Patch
- Why the Postal Service Is Suddenly Interested in Addictive Painkillers
- Fire-Eaters and Booze: What It Takes to Persuade Docs to Prescribe Painkillers
- Lethally Addictive Painkiller Recalled 7 Times While FDA Twiddles Its Thumbs
- Cephalon's Lollipops of Death: 56 Patients at One Clinic Die of Off-Label Painkiller Use