Two powerful and highly addictive drugs combined into one convenient pill. Sounds like a dangerous mix, but some people need some powerful pain relief.
This new drug has hit a roadblock, however. The manufacturer contends that it doesn't have as high a risk of respiratory side effects as other opioid pain relievers. But the FDA advisory committee didn't buy it.
At the conclusion of a hearing, the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted 14-0 against recommending that the agency approve Moxduo, the first drug to combine morphine and oxycodone into one capsule.
The committee also voted unanimously that the drug's developer had not proved that Moxduo is less likely to cause potentially life-threatening respiratory suppression than taking morphine or oxycodone alone.
There's no indication that the FDA will go against the committee recommendation.
But this is an area that certainly needs work. It takes a skilled physician to treat pain successfully -- they say it's like threading a needle to get just the right pain relief without impairing the patient's cognitive functions or breathing ability. We've probably all known people who suffered at the hands of a physician who hadn't quite mastered that skill. But maybe someday it won't be a problem.