"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.
Addiction, Abuse, And Misuse
OPANA ER contains oxymorphone, a Schedule II controlled substance. As an opioid, OPANA ER exposes users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse [see Drug Abuse and Dependence]. As modified-release products such as OPANA ER deliver the opioid over an extended period of time, there is a greater risk for overdose and death due to the larger amount of oxymorphone present.
Although the risk of addiction in any individual is unknown, it can occur in patients appropriately prescribed OPANA ER and in those who obtain the drug illicitly. Addiction can occur at recommended doses and if the drug is misused or abused.
Assess each patient's risk for opioid abuse or addiction, abuse, or misuse prior to prescribing OPANA ER, and monitor all patients receiving OPANA ER for the development of these behaviors or conditions. Risks are increased in patients with a personal or family history of substance abuse (including drug or alcohol addiction or abuse) or mental illness (e.g., major depression). The potential for these risks should not, however, prevent the prescribing of OPANA ER for the proper management of pain in any given patient. Patients at increased risk may be prescribed modified-release opioid formulations such as OPANA ER, but use in such patients necessitates intensive counseling about the risks and proper use of OPANA ER along with intensive monitoring for signs of addiction, abuse, and misuse.
Abuse or misuse of OPANA ER by crushing, chewing, snorting, or injecting the dissolved product will result in the uncontrolled delivery of the oxymorphone and can result in overdose and death [see OVERDOSAGE].
Opioid agonists such as OPANA ER are sought by drug abusers and people with addiction disorders and are subject to criminal diversion. Consider these risks when prescribing or dispensing OPANA ER. Strategies to reduce these risks include prescribing the drug in the smallest appropriate quantity and advising the patient on the proper disposal of unused drug [see PATIENT INFORMATION] . Contact local state professional licensing board or state controlled substances authority for information on how to prevent and detect abuse or diversion of this product.
Life Threatening Respiratory Depression
Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression has been reported with the use of modified-release opioids, even when used as recommended. Respiratory depression from opioid use, if not immediately recognized and treated, may lead to respiratory arrest and death. Management of respiratory depression may include close observation, supportive measures, and use of opioid antagonists, depending on the patient's clinical status [see OVERDOSAGE] . Carbon dioxide (CO2) retention from opioid-induced respiratory depression can exacerbate the sedating effects of opioids.
While serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression can occur at any time during the use of OPANA ER, the risk is greatest during the initiation of therapy or following a dose increase. Closely monitor patients for respiratory depression when initiating therapy with OPANA ER and following dose increases.
To reduce the risk of respiratory depression, proper dosing and titration of OPANA ER are essential [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. Overestimating the OPANA ER dose when converting patients from another opioid product can result in fatal overdose with the first dose.
Accidental ingestion of even one dose of OPANA ER, especially by children, can result in respiratory depression and death due to an overdose of oxymorphone.
Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome
Prolonged use of OPANA ER during pregnancy can result in withdrawal signs in the neonate. Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, unlike opioid withdrawal syndrome in adults, may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated, and requires management according to protocols developed by neonatology experts. If opioid use is required for a prolonged period in a pregnant woman, advise the patient of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available.
Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome presents as irritability, hyperactivity and abnormal sleep pattern, high pitched cry, tremor, vomiting, diarrhea and failure to gain weight. The onset, duration, and severity of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome vary based on the specific opioid used, duration of use, timing and amount of last maternal use, and rate of elimination of the drug by the newborn.
Interactions With Central Nervous System Depressants
Patients must not consume alcoholic beverages or prescription or non-prescription products containing alcohol while on OPANA ER therapy. The co-ingestion of alcohol with OPANA ER may result in increased plasma levels and a potentially fatal overdose of oxymorphone [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY] .
Hypotension, profound sedation, coma, respiratory depression, and death may result if OPANA ER is used concomitantly with alcohol or other central nervous system (CNS) depressants (e.g., sedatives, anxiolytics, hypnotics, neuroleptics, other opioids).
When considering the use of OPANA ER in a patient taking a CNS depressant, assess the duration of use of the CNS depressant and the patient's response, including the degree of tolerance that has developed to CNS depression. Additionally, evaluate the patient's use of alcohol or illicit drugs that cause CNS depression. If the decision to begin OPANA ER is made, start with OPANA ER 5 mg every 12 hours, monitor patients for signs of sedation and respiratory depression, and consider using a lower dose of the concomitant CNS depressant [see DRUG INTERACTIONS] .
Use In Elderly, Cachectic, And Debilitated Patients
Life-threatening respiratory depression is more likely to occur in elderly, cachectic, or debilitated patients as they may have altered pharmacokinetics or altered clearance compared to younger, healthier patients. Monitor such patients closely, particularly when initiating and titrating OPANA ER and when OPANA ER is given concomitantly with other drugs that depress respiration [see Life Threatening Respiratory Depression].
Use In Patients With Chronic Pulmonary Disease
Monitor patients with significant chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cor pulmonale, and patients having a substantially decreased respiratory reserve, hypoxia, hypercapnia, or pre-existing respiratory depression for respiratory depression, particularly when initiating therapy and titrating with OPANA ER, as in these patients, even usual therapeutic doses of OPANA ER may decrease respiratory drive to the point of apnea [see Life Threatening Respiratory Depression]. Consider the use of alternative non-opioid analgesics in these patients if possible.
Use In Patients With Hepatic Impairment
A study of OPANA ER in patients with hepatic disease indicated greater plasma concentrations than those with normal hepatic function [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. OPANA ER is contraindicated in patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment. In patients with mild hepatic impairment reduce the starting dose to the lowest dose and monitor for signs of respiratory and central nervous system depression [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
OPANA ER may cause severe hypotension including orthostatic hypotension and syncope in ambulatory patients. There is an increased risk in patients whose ability to maintain blood pressure has already been compromised by a reduced blood volume or concurrent administration of certain CNS depressant drugs (e.g. phenothiazines or general anesthetics) [see DRUG INTERACTIONS]. Monitor these patients for signs of hypotension after initiating or titrating the dose of OPANA ER. In patients with circulatory shock, OPANA ER may cause vasodilation that can further reduce cardiac output and blood pressure. Avoid the use of OPANA ER in patients with circulatory shock.
Use In Patients With Head Injury Or Increased Intracranial Pressure
Monitor patients taking OPANA ER who may be susceptible to the intracranial effects of CO2 retention (e.g., those with evidence of increased intracranial pressure or brain tumors) for signs of sedation and respiratory depression, particularly when initiating therapy with OPANA ER. OPANA ER may reduce respiratory drive, and the resultant CO2 retention can further increase intracranial pressure. Opioids may also obscure the clinical course in a patient with a head injury. Avoid the use of OPANA ER in patients with impaired consciousness or coma.
Difficulty In Swallowing And Risk For Obstruction In Patients At Risk For A Small Gastrointestinal Lumen
There have been post-marketing reports of difficulty in swallowing Opana ER tablets. These reports included choking, gagging, regurgitation and tablets stuck in the throat. Instruct patients not to pre-soak, lick or otherwise wet Opana ER tablets prior to placing in the mouth, and to take one tablet at a time with enough water to ensure complete swallowing immediately after placing in the mouth.
There have been rare post-marketing reports of cases of intestinal obstruction, some of which have required medical intervention to remove the tablet. Patients with underlying GI disorders such as esophageal cancer or colon cancer with a small gastrointestinal lumen are at greater risk of developing these complications. Consider use of an alternative analgesic in patients who have difficulty swallowing and patients at risk for underlying GI disorders resulting in a small gastrointestinal lumen.
Use In Patients With Gastrointestinal Conditions
OPANA ER is contraindicated in patients with paralytic ileus. Avoid the use of OPANA ER in patients with other GI obstruction.
The oxymorphone in OPANA ER may cause spasm of the sphincter of Oddi. Monitor patients with biliary tract disease, including acute pancreatitis, for worsening symptoms. Opioids may cause increases in the serum amylase.
Use In Patients With Convulsive Or Seizure Disorders
The oxymorphone in OPANA ER may aggravate convulsions in patients with convulsive disorders, and may induce or aggravate seizures in some clinical settings. Monitor patients with a history of seizure disorders for worsened seizure control during OPANA ER therapy.
Avoidance Of Withdrawal
Avoid the use of mixed agonist/antagonist (i.e., pentazocine, nalbuphine, and butorphanol) and partial agonist (buprenorphine) analgesics in patients who have received or are receiving a course of therapy with an opioid agonist analgesic, including OPANA ER. In these patients, mixed agonists/antagonist and partial agonist analgesics may reduce the analgesic effect and/or may precipitate withdrawal symptoms.
When discontinuing OPANA ER, gradually taper the dose [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. Do not abruptly discontinue OPANA ER.
Driving And Operating Machinery
OPANA ER may impair the mental or physical abilities needed to perform potentially hazardous activities such as driving a car or operating machinery. Warn patients not to drive or operate dangerous machinery unless they are tolerant to the effects of OPANA ER and know how they will react to the medication.
Patient Counseling Information
Advise the patient to read the FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide).
Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse
Inform patients that the use of OPANA ER, even when taken as recommended, can result in addiction, abuse, and misuse, which can lead to overdose or death [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Instruct patients not to share OPANA ER with others and to take steps to protect OPANA ER from theft or misuse.
Life-threatening Respiratory Depression
Inform patients of the risk of life-threatening respiratory depression, including information that the risk is greatest when starting OPANA ER or when the dose is increased, and that it can occur even at recommended doses [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Advise patients how to recognize respiratory depression and to seek medical attention if breathing difficulties develop.
Inform patients that accidental ingestion, especially in children, may result in respiratory depression or death [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Instruct patients to take steps to store OPANA ER securely and to dispose of unused OPANA ER by flushing the tablets down the toilet.
Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome
Inform female patients of reproductive potential that prolonged use of OPANA ER during pregnancy can result in neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, which may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Interactions with Alcohol and other CNS Depressants
Instruct patients not to consume alcoholic beverages, as well as prescription and over-the-counter products that contain alcohol, during treatment with OPANA ER. The co-ingestion of alcohol with OPANA ER may result in increased plasma levels and a potentially fatal overdose of oxymorphone [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Inform patients that potentially serious additive effects may occur if OPANA ER is used with alcohol or other CNS depressants, and not to use such drugs unless supervised by a health care provider.
Important Administration Instructions
Instruct patients how to properly take OPANA ER, including the following:
- Swallowing OPANA ER tablets whole
- Not crushing, chewing, or dissolving the tablets
- Occasionally, the inactive ingredients of OPANA ER may be eliminated as a soft mass in the stool that may resemble the original tablet. Patients should be informed that the active medication has already been absorbed by the time the patient sees the soft mass.
- Using OPANA ER exactly as prescribed to reduce the risk of life-threatening adverse reactions (e.g., respiratory depression)
- Not discontinuing OPANA ER without first discussing the need for a tapering regimen with the prescriber
- Do not pre-soak, lick or otherwise wet the tablet prior to placing in the mouth.
- To take each tablet with enough water to ensure complete swallowing immediately after placing in mouth.
Inform patients that OPANA ER may cause orthostatic hypotension and syncope. Instruct patients how to recognize symptoms of low blood pressure and how to reduce the risk of serious consequences should hypotension occur (e.g., sit or lie down, carefully rise from a sitting or lying position).
Driving or Operating Heavy Machinery
Inform patients that OPANA ER may impair the ability to perform potentially hazardous activities such as driving a car or operating heavy machinery. Advise patients not to perform such tasks until they know how they will react to the medication.
Advise patients of the potential for severe constipation, including management instructions and when to seek medical attention.
Inform patients that anaphylaxis has been reported with ingredients contained in OPANA ER. Advise patients how to recognize such a reaction and when to seek medical attention.
Advise female patients that OPANA ER can cause fetal harm and to inform the prescriber if they are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Disposal of Unused OPANA ER
Advise patients to flush the unused tablets down the toilet when OPANA ER is no longer needed.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
Long-term studies have been completed to evaluate the carcinogenic potential of oxymorphone in both Sprague-Dawley rats and CD-1 mice. Oxymorphone HCl was administered to Sprague-Dawley rats (2.5, 5, and 10 mg/kg/day in males and 5, 10, and 25 mg/kg/day in females) for 2 years by oral gavage. The systemic drug exposure (AUC ng•h/mL) at the 10 mg/kg/day in male rats was 0.34-fold and at the 25 mg/kg/day dose in female rats was 1.5-fold the human exposure at a dose of 260 mg/day. No evidence of carcinogenic potential was observed in rats. Oxymorphone was administered to CD-1 mice (10, 25, 75 and 150 mg/kg/day) for 2 years by oral gavage. The systemic drug exposure (AUC ng•h/mL) at the 150 mg/kg/day dose in mice was 14.5-fold (in males) and 17.3-fold (in females) times the human exposure at a dose of 260 mg/day. No evidence of carcinogenic potential was observed in mice.
Oxymorphone hydrochloride was not mutagenic when tested in the in vitro bacterial reverse mutation assay (Ames test) at concentrations of ≤ 5270 μg/plate, or in an in vitro mammalian cell chromosome aberration assay performed with human peripheral blood lymphocytes at concentrations ≤ 5000 μg/ml with or without metabolic activation. Oxymorphone hydrochloride tested positive in both the rat and mouse in vivo micronucleus assays. An increase in micronucleated polychromatic erythrocytes occurred in mice given doses ≥ 250 mg/kg and in rats given doses of 20 and 40 mg/kg. A subsequent study demonstrated that oxymorphone hydrochloride was not aneugenic in mice following administration of up to 500 mg/kg. Additional studies indicate that the increased incidence of micronucleated polychromatic erythrocytes in rats may be secondary to increased body temperature following oxymorphone administration. Doses associated with increased micronucleated polychromatic erythrocytes also produce a marked, rapid increase in body temperature. Pretreatment of animals with sodium salicylate minimized the increase in body temperature and prevented the increase in micronucleated polychromatic erythrocytes after administration of 40 mg/kg oxymorphone.
Impairment of Fertility
Oxymorphone hydrochloride did not affect reproductive function or sperm parameters in male rats at any dose tested ( ≤ 50 mg/kg/day). The highest dose tested is ≤ 6-fold the human dose of 40 mg every 12 hours, based on body surface area. In female rats, an increase in the length of the estrus cycle and decrease in the mean number of viable embryos, implantation sites and corpora lutea were observed at doses of oxymorphone ≥ 10 mg/kg/day. The dose of oxymorphone associated with reproductive findings in female rats is 1.2-fold the human dose of 40 mg every 12 hours based on a body surface area. The dose of oxymorphone that produced no adverse effects on reproductive findings in female rats is 0.6-fold the human dose of 40 mg every 12 hours on a body surface area basis.
Use In Specific Populations
Fetal/neonatal Adverse Reactions
Prolonged use of opioid analgesics during pregnancy for medical or nonmedical purposes can result in physical dependence in the neonate and neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome shortly after birth. Observe newborns for symptoms of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, such as poor feeding, diarrhea, irritability, tremor, rigidity, and seizures, and manage accordingly [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Teratogenic Effects -Pregnancy Category C
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. OPANA ER should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Oxymorphone hydrochloride administration did not cause malformations at any doses evaluated during developmental toxicity studies in rats ( ≤ 25 mg/kg/day) or rabbits ( ≤ 50 mg/kg/day). These doses are ≤ 3-fold and ≤ 12-fold the human dose of 40 mg every 12 hours, based on body surface area. There were no developmental effects in rats treated with 5 mg/kg/day or rabbits treated with 25 mg/kg/day. Fetal weights were reduced in rats and rabbits given doses of ≥ 10 mg/kg/day and 50 mg/kg/day, respectively. These doses are ≤ 1.2-fold and ≤ 12-fold the human dose of 40 mg every 12 hours based on body surface area, respectively. There were no effects of oxymorphone hydrochloride on intrauterine survival in rats at doses ≤ 25 mg/kg/day, or rabbits at ≤ 50 mg/kg/day in these studies (see Non-teratogenic Effects, below). In a study that was conducted prior to the establishment of Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) and not according to current recommended methodology, a single subcutaneous injection of oxymorphone hydrochloride on gestation day 8 was reported to produce malformations in offspring of hamsters that received 15.5-fold the human dose of 40 mg every 12 hours based on body surface area. This dose also produced 20% maternal lethality.
Oxymorphone hydrochloride administration to female rats during gestation in a pre-and postnatal developmental toxicity study reduced mean litter size (18%) at a dose of 25 mg/kg/day, attributed to an increased incidence of stillborn pups. An increase in neonatal death occurred at ≥ 5 mg/kg/day. Post-natal survival of the pups was reduced throughout weaning following treatment of the dams with 25 mg/kg/day. Low pup birth weight and decreased postnatal weight gain occurred in pups born to oxymorphone-treated pregnant rats given a dose of 25 mg/kg/day. This dose is ≤ 3-fold higher than the human dose of 40 mg every 12 hours on a body surface area basis.
Labor And Delivery
Opioids cross the placenta and may produce respiratory depression in neonates. OPANA ER is not for use in women during and immediately prior to labor, when shorter acting analgesics or other analgesic techniques are more appropriate. Opioid analgesics can prolong labor through actions that temporarily reduce the strength, duration, and frequency of uterine contractions. However this effect is not consistent and may be offset by an increased rate of cervical dilatation, which tends to shorten labor.
It is not known whether oxymorphone is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs, including some opioids, are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when OPANA ER is administered to a nursing woman. Monitor infants who may be exposed to OPANA ER through breast milk for excess sedation and respiratory depression. Withdrawal symptoms can occur in breast-fed infants when maternal administration of an opioid analgesic is stopped, or when breast-feeding is stopped.
The safety and effectiveness of OPANA ER in patients below the age of 18 years have not been established.
Of the total number of subjects in clinical studies of oxymorphone hydrochloride extended-release tablets, 27% were 65 and over, while 9% were 75 and over. No overall differences in effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects. There were several adverse events that were more frequently observed in subjects 65 and over compared to younger subjects. These adverse events included dizziness, somnolence, confusion, and nausea. On average, age greater than 65 years was associated with a 1.4-fold increase in oxymorphone AUC and a 1.5-fold increase in Cmax. Initiate dosing with OPANA ER in patients 65 years of age and over using the 5 mg dose and monitor closely for signs of respiratory and central nervous system depression when initiating and titrating OPANA ER. For patients on prior opioid therapy, start at 50% of the starting dose for a younger patient on prior opioids and titrate slowly.
Patients with mild hepatic impairment have an increase in oxymorphone bioavailability of 1.6-fold. In opioid-na´ve patients with mild hepatic impairment, initiate OPANA ER using the 5 mg dose and monitor closely for respiratory and central nervous system depression. OPANA ER is contraindicated for patients with moderate and severe hepatic impairment [see CONTRAINDICATIONS, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. For patients on prior opioid therapy, start at the 50% of the dose for that a patient with normal hepatic function on prior opioids and titrate slowly.
Patients with moderate to severe renal impairment were shown to have an increase in oxymorphone bioavailability ranging from 5765% [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Start opioid-na´ve patients with the 5 mg dose of OPANA ER and titrate slowly while closely monitoring for respiratory and central nervous system depression [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. For patients on prior opioid therapy, start at 50% of the dose for a patient with normal renal function on prior opioids and titrate slowly.This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Last reviewed on RxList: 4/30/2014
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