What is Dsuvia?
Dsuvia is a tablet form of sufentanil that’s meant to dissolve under the tongue. It’s five to 10 times stronger than fentanyl, an opioid drug already on that market, and 500 to 1000 times more powerful than morphine. Fentanyl is also produced illicitly and is associated with many overdose deaths, often by those who are unaware that the opioids they’re using contain fentanyl. Dsuvia is intended for use with patients experiencing acute pain only in medically supervised settings, according to its makers.
What company makes Dsuvia?
AcelRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc makes Dsuvia the company is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative therapies for use in medically supervised settings. AcelRx’s proprietary, non-invasive sublingual formulation technology delivers sufentanil with consistent pharmacokinetic profiles.
Why was this drug developed?
The drug was developed to fulfill an unmet need, according to Dr. Pamela Palmer, anesthesiologist and chief medical officer at AcelRx, the maker of the drug.“For acute pain management in a hospital, there hasn’t been a new opioid developed in many, many years,” she said. Right now, if you broke your femur and went into an emergency room, you would either have to be stuck with a needle or they would just give you an oral pill that you would swallow and kind of wait for it to kick in, which could take up to an hour.”
Palmer said there weren’t any opioids available that could dissolve under the tongue for patients who aren’t specifically diagnosed with cancer, experiencing pain, and tolerant to other opioids. “Dsuvia is indicated for… the management of acute pain severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which alternative treatments are inadequate,” she said.Palmer also said that Dsuvia could help health care providers prevent dosing errors that can occur when administering liquid formulations of opioid medications.
What about concerns of abusing Dsuvia?
In addition to making the drug available only in medically supervised settings, AcelRx has other plans for preventing abuse of the drug, Palmer said.
“We have much stricter audits and monitoring and controls where we will have oversight from our manufacturers, from our distributors, wholesalers, all the way to the medically supervised setting,” she said. The company also has a contract with Denver Health, which runs the RADARS system — a group of programs that are used to monitor prescription drug abuse, misuse and diversion.
How much does Dsuvia cost?
According to the manufacturer, Dsuvia will be sold at a wholesale price of $50 to $60 per dose. The medication comes in a 30mcg; sublingual tabs (housed in a disposable, single-dose applicator); contains mannitol. A review of 10 pharmacy retail prices for Dsuvia shows that the current price ranges from $62.48 to $69.91
What are the side effects of Dsuvia?
Common side effects of Dsuvia include:
- dizziness, and
- low blood pressure (hypotension)
What Drugs interact with Dsuvia?
Dsuvia may interact with macrolide antibiotics, azole antifungals, protease inhibitors, rifampin, carbamazepine, phenytoin, alcohol, benzodiazepines, sedatives/hypnotics, anti-anxiety medications, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, general anesthetics, antipsychotics, other opioids, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), triptans, 5-HT3 receptor antagonists, drugs that effect the serotonin neurotransmitter system, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), diuretics, and anticholinergics. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant before using Dsuvia; prolonged use of opioid analgesics such as Dsuvia during pregnancy may cause neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome. Dsuvia passes into breast milk and may cause adverse effects in nursing infants. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding. Withdrawal symptoms may occur if you suddenly stop taking Dsuvia.