A powerful new prescription painkiller consisting of pure morphine and oxycodone is currently up for FDA approval. The drug, Moxduo, is designed to quickly relieve severe pain with fewer side effects than other opioids. According to QRxPharma, the maker of the drug, Moxduo allows patients to take lower doses of morphine and oxycodone than if they took either of the drugs alone. It also reduces the risk of life-threatening respiratory complications, as well as other side effects such as nausea and dizziness.
QRxPharma made their case on Tuesday, but the FDA advisory committee voted unanimously against approving Moxduo, and expressed doubt that a morphine-oxycodone combination is more effective and safe than either drug alone. Another key concern was the potential for abuse since pure narcotic substances are easier to misuse compared with other painkillers that contain multiple ingredients in addition to a narcotic.
Last year, an FDA advisory committee voted against approving Zohydro, the first pure hydrocodone prescription drug. The FDA did not follow the panel’s recommendations and approved the drug, citing a need for strong analgesics that do not pose the risk of liver damage. Despite harsh criticism from politicians and public health advocates, the FDA has maintained its position of ensuring access to pain medications for those in need.