"Despite being at the front lines in the nation's battle against opioid addiction as the first to treat chronic pain, and opioid overuse, few primary care and family physicians use the one drug available to them to treat addiction, buprenorphine, "...
Acute overdosage with opioids can be manifested by respiratory depression, somnolence progressing to stupor or coma, skeletal muscle flaccidity, cold and clammy skin, constricted pupils, and sometimes pulmonary edema, bradycardia, hypotension and death. Marked mydriasis rather than miosis may be seen due to severe hypoxia in overdose situations.
Treatment of Overdose
In case of overdose, priorities are the re-establishment of a patent and protected airway and institution of assisted or controlled ventilation if needed. Employ other supportive measures (including oxygen, vasopressors) in the management of circulatory shock and pulmonary edema as indicated. Cardiac arrest or arrhythmias will require advanced life support techniques.
The opioid antagonists, such as naloxone and naltrexone, are specific antidotes to respiratory depression resulting from opioid overdose. Opioid antagonists should not be administered in the absence of clinically significant respiratory or circulatory depression secondary to hydromorphone overdose. Such agents should be administered cautiously to patients who are known, or suspected to be, physically dependent on EXALGO. In such cases, an abrupt or complete reversal of opioid effects may precipitate an acute withdrawal syndrome.
Because the duration of reversal would be expected to be less than the duration of action of hydromorphone in EXALGO, carefully monitor the patient until spontaneous respiration is reliably reestablished. EXALGO will continue to release hydromorphone adding to the hydromorphone load for up to 24 hours after administration, necessitating prolonged monitoring for at least 24 to 48 hours beyond the overdose. If the response to opioid antagonists is suboptimal or not sustained, additional antagonist should be given as directed in the product's prescribing information.
In an individual physically dependent on opioids, administration of an opioid receptor antagonist may precipitate an acute withdrawal. The severity of the withdrawal syndrome produced will depend on the degree of physical dependence and the dose of the antagonist administered. If a decision is made to treat serious respiratory depression in the physically dependent patient, administration of the antagonist should be begun with care and by titration with smaller than usual doses of the antagonist.
EXALGO is contraindicated in:
- Opioid non-tolerant patients. Fatal respiratory depression could occur in patients who are not opioid tolerant.
- Patients with significant respiratory depression
- Patients with acute or severe bronchial asthma in an unmonitored setting or in the absence of resuscitative equipment
- Patients with known or suspected paralytic ileus
- Patients who have had surgical procedures and/or underlying disease resulting in narrowing of the gastrointestinal tract, or have “blind loops” of the gastrointestinal tract or gastrointestinal obstruction.
- Patients with hypersensitivity (e.g., anaphylaxis) to hydromorphone or sulfite-containing medications [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
Last reviewed on RxList: 6/19/2015
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