Medications we're watching

News briefs

Published: March, 2019

Three newly approved medications are garnering national attention. The first is an oral form of a powerful opioid painkiller that's been available by injection since 1984. Dsuvia is the sublingual (under the tongue) version of sufentanil, and it was approved by the FDA in November 2018. Dsuvia is 1,000 times more potent than morphine. The FDA says it may be helpful for use on the battlefield or in hospitals. Critics worry the drug will wind up on the streets, furthering the country's opioid crisis. Another medication of note is the first prescription drug made from marijuana. The FDA approved cannabidiol (Epidiolex) in June 2018 for the treatment of seizures associated with rare forms of epilepsy. The medication is made from a component of marijuana that does not cause intoxication or euphoria. And finally, baloxavir marboxil (Xofluza), the first new antiviral in 20 years to help fight the flu, received FDA clearance in October 2018. The drug is a one-dose pill that may help shorten the duration of the flu if it's taken within 48 hours of the start of symptoms. One caution: the new antiviral has not yet been tested in older adults, so talk to your doctor if the drug is prescribed and you have concerns.

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