What Is Dsuvia?

Dsuvia is a tablet form of Sufentanil, a synthetic Opioid that has been used intravenously and in epidurals to treat moderate to severe pain since the 1980s. The medication is 5-10 times stronger than Fentanyl, a drug that has caused tens of thousands of overdose deaths in America over the past decade. Dsuvia is intended for use in adults and only in a certified medically supervised healthcare setting, such as a hospital or surgical center, for the management of acute pain severe enough to require an Opioid analgesic and for which alternative treatments proved inadequate. It is also intended to relieve pain during or after surgery or other medical procedures. The medication comes in a single-use package and should not be used for more than 72 hours. Due to the potency of the drug, Dsuvia is not available at retail pharmacies or for any home use.

According to the makers of the drug, AcelRX, Dsuvia was developed to fulfill an unmet need for acute pain management in hospitals. Prior to the new medication, no Opioids were available that could dissolve under the tongue for patients who are not specifically diagnosed with cancer, experiencing pain, and/or tolerant to other Opioids. Dsuvia provides an alternative to intravenous and oral pain medications, which could take up to an hour to provide any relief, and helps reduce dosing errors that can occur when administering liquid formulations of Opioids. Dsuvia was approved for use by the FDA in November of 2018.

Effects of Dsuvia Use

There are a number of potential side effects of Dsuvia, including life-threatening breathing problems such as respiratory arrest and adrenal insufficiency. Individuals taking the drug may experience any of the following:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Respiratory depression
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Hypotension
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Dsuvia also exposes patients and other users to risks of Opioid addiction, abuse, and misuse, which can lead to overdose and death. Those who take Dsuvia have a high risk of overdose due to the potency of the medication. The drug slows down breathing and respiratory function, to the point that it can be potentially fatal.

The Controversy of Dsuvia

Due to the current state of the Opioid Epidemic in America, many officials are criticizing the approval of a new Opioid drug that is 1,000 times more potent than Morphine and 5-10 times stronger than the already-deadly potent Fentanyl, a drug that has played a large role in opioid-related overdose deaths. An average of 115 Americans die every day from an Opioid overdose, and critics worry that Dsuvia will only worsen these statistics.

“An Opioid that is a thousand times more powerful than Morphine is a thousand times more likely to be abused, and a thousand times more likely to kill.”

– Ed Markey, Democratic Senator of Massachusetts

Opponents of the drug are citing that it is unreasonable to put yet another potent prescription on the market when there are already more than 200 million Opioid prescriptions still being written each year. Studies have demonstrated that once powerful Opioids receive FDA approval, there’s very little systematic control over the distribution and abuse of those medications no matter the drug sponsors’ claims of regulation. These are very valid concerns; however, the medical benefits of Dsuvia cannot be overlooked. As medications continue to pass screening and become more readily available, education regarding the dangers of Opioid abuse will be paramount in preventing addiction.

Get Help Today

If you or a loved one are concerned about becoming addicted to Dsuvia, talk to your healthcare provider and discuss your other options. For many, abuse of a prescription Opioid drug begins when they alter the way they take the drug, frequency of dosage, or amount of dosage. Researching the potential side effects and talking to your doctor about any worries that you may have is the best way to prevent addiction in the future.