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New Pain Reliever Approved By FDA

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Aired 11/4/10

For the first time in the U.S., Americans have a new way to treat their pain.

For the first time in the U.S., Americans have a new way to treat their pain. Thanks to Cadence Pharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical company based in San Diego.

Cadence won FDA clearance this week for its pain killer drug Ofirmev.

The drug is an IV or injectable form of acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol and Excedrin.

Cadence CEO Ted Schroeder said Ofirmev is an IV alternative medication to opium-based pain relievers, like morphine, except it has fewer serious side effects.

He also said Ofirmev works better than narcotics alone.

“In our clinical trials we saw 33 percent reduction in narcotic use in the acetaminophen tests and that came with superior pain control.”

The number one complaint from three out of four surgical patients in the U.S. is inadequate pain relief immediately following a surgery.

Ofirmev is said to improve pain management following surgery. Other benefits include use in patients as young as two and in people who can’t swallow said Schroder.

“So this is a real advance for delivering better pain control for patients and of course, better pain control leads to better outcomes for patients,” Schroder said.

Ofirmev cost about $8 to $10 per dose, which is more costly than pain pills, but less than narcotic pain relievers.

IV acetaminophen has been a popular choice in European countries for years. It’ll be available in U.S. hospitals in early 2011.

Editor's note: an earlier version of this story failed to note that Ofirmev is not the only IV alternative medication to opium-based pain relievers.

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