"Nov. 2, 2012 -- Safety steps taken in the wake of the fungal meningitis outbreak have worsened drug shortages, raising questions about whether the U.S. must choose between the safety and the availability of crucial medicines.
Central Nervous System
Oxycodone is a semisynthetic pure opioid agonist whose principal therapeutic action is analgesia. Other pharmacological effects of oxycodone include anxiolysis, euphoria and feelings of relaxation. These effects are mediated by receptors (notably μ and κ) in the central nervous system for endogenous opioid-like compounds such as endorphins and enkephalins. Oxycodone produces respiratory depression through direct activity at respiratory centers in the brain stem and depresses the cough reflex by direct effect on the center of the medulla.
Acetaminophen is a non-opiate, non-salicylate analgesic and antipyretic. The site and mechanism for the analgesic effect of acetaminophen has not been determined. The antipyretic effect of acetaminophen is accomplished through the inhibition of endogenous pyrogen action on the hypothalamic heat-regulating centers.
Gastrointestinal Tract and Other Smooth Muscle
Oxycodone reduces motility by increasing smooth muscle tone in the stomach and duodenum. In the small intestine, digestion of food is delayed by decreases in propulsive contractions. Other opioid effects include contraction of biliary tract smooth muscle, spasm of the Sphincter of Oddi, increased ureteral and bladder sphincter tone, and a reduction in uterine tone.
Absorption and Distribution
The mean absolute oral bioavailability of oxycodone in cancer patients was reported to be about 87%. Oxycodone has been shown to be 45% bound to human plasma proteins in vitro. The volume of distribution after intravenous administration is 211.9 ±186.6 L.
Absorption of acetaminophen is rapid and almost complete from the GI tract after oral administration. With overdosage, absorption is complete in 4 hours. Acetaminophen is relatively uniformly distributed throughout most body fluids. Binding of the drug to plasma proteins is variable; only 20% to 50% may be bound at the concentrations encountered during acute intoxication.
Metabolism and Elimination
A high portion of oxycodone is N-dealkylated to noroxycodone during first-pass metabolism. Oxymorphone, is formed by the O-demethylation of oxycodone. The metabolism of oxycodone to oxymorphone is catalyzed by CYP2D6. Free and conjugated noroxycodone, free and conjugated oxycodone, and oxymorphone are excreted in human urine following a single oral dose of oxycodone. Approximately 8% to 14% of the dose is excreted as free oxycodone over 24 hours after administration. Following a single, oral dose of oxycodone, the mean ± SD elimination half-life is 3.51 ± 1.43 hours.
Acetaminophen is metabolized in the liver via cytochrome P450 microsomal enzyme. About 80-85% of the acetaminophen in the body is conjugated principally with glucuronic acid and to a lesser extent with sulfuric acid and cysteine. After hepatic conjugation, 90 to 100% of the drug is recovered in the urine with in the first day.
About 4% of acetaminophen is metabolized via cytochrome P450 oxidase to a toxic metabolite which is further detoxified by conjugation with glutathione, present in a fixed amount. It is believed that the toxic metabolite NAPQI (N acetyl-p-benzoquinoneimine, N-acetylimidoquinone) is responsible for liver necrosis. High doses of acetaminophen may deplete the glutathione stores so that inactivation of the toxic metabolite is decreased. At high doses, the capacity of metabolic pathways for conjugation with glucuronic acid and sulfuric acid may be exceeded, resulting in increased metabolism of acetaminophen by alternate pathways.
Last reviewed on RxList: 3/27/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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