FDA approved new opioid drug called Dsuvia

The drug is 10 times stronger than fentanyl, which is already up to 1,000 times stronger than morphine.
2:09 | 11/03/18

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Transcript for FDA approved new opioid drug called Dsuvia
?????? Welcome back to "Gma" and in today's "Weekend download" a powerful new opioid hitting the market. The fda just approved a drug called dsuvia acknowledging the opioid crisis in the nation but saying the drug fills an important but limited unmet medical need. Joining us now with more is ABC's chief medical correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton. Always great to have you with us. Good to be here, whit. There's been so much controversy over this drug even within the fda. Yeah. What can you tell us about dsuvia? Let me tell you, it's small, it's strong, it's about a thousand times more powerful than morphine. It's in the opioid class of medication and it's really designed for use in acute pain settings, so makers of the drug saying battlefield situation, emergency room situation, short-term use and in medically supervised settings. Projected annual sales of this, whit, $1.1 billion. So people stand to make a lot of money off this. We talked about the controversy but the risks and benefits to a strong opioid like this. Well, first of all, let's start with proposed benefits. It's important to treat pain both acute and chronic. When you talk about this medication, it comes in oral form, something called odt so you don't have to swallow a pill. It literally dissolves in your mouth and has a more rapid route of administration than say intravenous or IV drugs. Risks? Any drug in the opioid class suppresses respiration and can stop your breathing. It can happen the first time and can be fatal. That's how people die of opioid overdoses, so when you talk about a new drug like this, potential for abuse is there. You talked about the safety concerns. Specifically for patients and doctors, though, with the drug this strong. Listen, it's important to treat pain. That is key. But it's important to treat it safely. Right now many people in this area of pain management are thinking that we need to investigate other classes of pain medications to make it safer. You know, a lot of people are saying this is adding gasoline to the fire of a major opioid epidemic. People need to do their homework and the epidemic impacting thousands across this country. Absolutely.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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