U.S. FDA declines to approve Avenue’s non-opioid painkiller again, shares drop

() – Avenue Therapeutics Inc (ATXI.O) said on Monday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had once again declined to approve its non-opioid painkiller tramadol, sending its shares about 5% lower in premarket trading.

The FDA has been pushing drugmakers to develop alternatives to opioid-based painkillers, as the United States grapples with the menace of opioid addiction.

The health regulator had previously declined to approve the painkiller in October, stating that it was not safe for the intended population.

Signage is seen outside of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) headquarters in White Oak, Maryland, U.S., August 29, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

The agency said the delayed and the unpredictable onset of analgesia – relief from pain – with intravenous (IV) tramadol does not support its benefit as a monotherapy to treat patients with acute pain.

There is also insufficient data to support that IV tramadol is safe and effective in combination with other drugs, FDA said in its decision that came more than two months after the scheduled target date of April 12.

The FDA did not mention any “Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls (CMC)” issues in the complete response letter, Avenue said, adding that it disagreed with the health regulator’s decision and would continue to seek regulatory approval for IV tramadol.

IV tramadol is being developed by the drugmaker as a potential alternative to conventional opioids for people with acute pain in the United States.

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