Zohydro: New pain med sounds like a many-headed monster – literally


Maybe the FDA put a hidden meaning in the name of the new pain drug that everyone is worried about. When I hear “Zohydro,” I think of a boss that my son has to beat on a video game. Then I think of the multi-headed snake hydra.

I did a quick search of hydra on flickr and all sorts of scary pictures popped up: floorless roller coasters, comic book villians, huge sculptures of snakes and Hercules.

Who named this drug? I can see why Zogenix would want to keep “Zo” in the product name, but apparently no one working on the product launch knows anything about Greek mythology:

HYDRA LERNAIA was a gigantic, nine-headed water-serpent, which haunted the swamps of Lerna. Herakles was sent to destroy her as one of his twelve labours, but for each of her heads that he decapitated, two more sprang forth.

The beast had poisonous breath and blood so virulent that even its tracks were deadly. This description of the monster sounds almost exactly like the predictions police officers and elected officials are making about the effect of this new drug on Americans. The best question I’ve heard so far in the discussion is: If people with chronic pain really need this new drug, why not wait until the non-crushable form is ready to decrease the risk of abuse?

Maybe doctors and patients should read “scary – avoid at all costs” into the name of the med, given the many bad associations of the word hydra. The monster has staying power, reaching from Greek times through Captain America comic books and even to roller coasters.


The hydra has been around a long time. This piece of Etruscan pottery is from the Getty Villa, Los Angeles, Calif., and dates to circa 525 BC.
There is an actual animal animal called the hydra, but it is too small to threaten anyone. According to, it “is found in freshwater and can easily be grown and studied in a biology laboratory. It is large enough to be seen with the naked eye.”

Madame HydraHYDRA is a fictional terrorist organization in Marvel Comics. Viper, formerly known as Madame Hydra, is a villain in the Marvel Comics universe who is an enemy of the Avengers and the X-Men. She was one of the top trainees of HYDRA.


HYDRA The Revenge is a floorless roller coaster in Pennsylvania. It flips riders upside-down as the train exits the station, then sends riders soaring through the sky along more than a half-mile of coiling steel roller-coaster track.

The white sculpture at the top of the page is a statue by Rudolph Tegner. Picture is from flickr user Poul Iversen.

The Hydra picture is from flickr user Marco Spiller.

The Madame Hydra picture is from flickr user Saffels Photography.

The roller-coaster picture is from flickr user Neuski

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