July 29, 2016
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Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.


Addiction, Abuse, And Misuse

PALLADONE contains hydromorphone, a Schedule II controlled substance. As an opioid, PALLADONE exposes users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse [see Drug Abuse and Dependence]. As modified-release products such as PALLADONE deliver the opioid over an extended period of time, there is a greater risk for overdose and death due to the larger amount of hydromorphone present.

Although the risk of addiction in any individual is unknown, it can occur in patients appropriately prescribed PALLADONE 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 addiction, abuse, or misuse prior to prescribing PALLADONE, and monitor all patients receiving PALLADONE 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 PALLADONE for the proper management of pain in any given patient. Patients at increased risk may be prescribed modified-release opioid formulations such as PALLADONE, but use in such patients necessitates intensive counseling about the risks and proper use of PALLADONE along with intensive monitoring for signs of addiction, abuse, and misuse.

Abuse or misuse of PALLADONE by crushing, chewing, snorting, or injecting the dissolved product will result in the uncontrolled delivery of hydromorphone and can result in overdose and death [see OVERDOSAGE].

Opioid agonists such as PALLADONE are sought by drug abusers and people with addiction disorders and are subject to criminal diversion. Consider these risks when prescribing or dispensing PALLADONE. 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 PALLADONE, the risk is greatest during the initiation of therapy or following a dose increase. Closely monitor patients for respiratory depression when initiating therapy with PALLADONE and following dose increases.

To reduce the risk of respiratory depression, proper dosing and titration of PALLADONE are essential [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. Overestimating the PALLADONE dose when converting patients from another opioid product can result in fatal overdose with the first dose.

Accidental ingestion of even one dose of PALLADONE, especially by children, can result in respiratory depression and death due to an overdose of hydromorphone.

Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome

Prolonged use of PALLADONE 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

Hypotension, profound sedation, coma, respiratory depression, and death may result if PALLADONE 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 PALLADONE 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 PALLADONE is made, start with 1/3 to ½ the calculated starting dose of PALLADONE, 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 Ederly, 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 PALLADONE and when PALLADONE is given concomitantly with other drugs that depress respiration.

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 PALLADONE, as in these patients, even usual therapeutic doses of PALLADONE may decrease respiratory drive to the point of apnea. Consider the use of alternative non-opioid analgesics in these patients if possible.

Hypotensive Effect

PALLADONE 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 PALLADONE.

Use In Patients With Head Injury Or Increased Intracranial Pressure

Monitor patients taking PALLADONE 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 PALLADONE. PALLADONE 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 PALLADONE in patients with impaired consciousness or coma.

Use In Patients with Gastrointestinal Conditions

PALLADONE is contraindicated in patients with paralytic ileus. Avoid the use of PALLADONE in patients with other GI obstruction.

Because the PALLADONE capsule is nondeformable and does not appreciably change in shape in the GI tract, PALLADONE is contraindicated in patients with preexisting severe gastrointestinal narrowing (pathologic or iatrogenic, for example: esophageal motility disorders, small bowel inflammatory disease, “short gut” syndrome due to adhesions or decreased transit time, past history of peritonitis, cystic fibrosis, chronic intestinal pseudoobstruction, or Meckel's diverticulum). There have been reports of obstructive symptoms in patients with known strictures or risk of strictures, such as previous GI surgery, in association with the ingestion of drugs in nondeformable extended-release formulations.

It is possible that PALLADONE capsules may be visible on abdominal x-rays under certain circumstances, especially when digital enhancing techniques are utilized.

The hydromorphone in PALLADONE may cause spasm of the sphincter of Oddi. Monitor patients with biliary tract disease, including acute pancreatitis, for worsening symptoms.


PALLADONE contains sodium metabisulfite, a sulfite that may cause allergic-type reactions including anaphylactic symptoms and life-threatening or less severe asthmatic episodes in certain susceptible people. The overall prevalence of sulfite sensitivity in the general population is unknown and probably low. Sulfite sensitivity is seen more frequently in asthmatic than in nonasthmatic people.

Use In Patients With Convulsive Or Seizure Disorders

The hydromorphone in PALLADONE 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 PALLADONE therapy.

Avoidance Of Withdrawal

Avoid the use of mixed agonist/antagonist (i.e., pentazocine, nalbuphine, and butorphanol) or partial agonists (buprenorphine) analgesics in patients who have received or are receiving a course of therapy with a full opioid agonist analgesic, including PALLADONE. In these patients, mixed agonists/antagonist and partial agonist analgesics may reduce the analgesic effect and/or may precipitate withdrawal symptoms [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].

When discontinuing PALLADONE, gradually taper the dose [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. Do not abruptly discontinue PALLADONE.

Driving And Operating Machinery

PALLADONE may impair the mental and/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 PALLADONE 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 PALLADONE, 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 PALLADONE with others and to take steps to protect PALLADONE from theft or misuse.

Life-threatening Respiratory Depression

Inform patients of the risk of life-threatening of respiratory depression, including information that the risk is greatest when starting PALLADONE 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.

Accidental Ingestion

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 PALLADONE securely and to dispose of unused PALLADONE by flushing the capsules down the toilet.

Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome

Inform female patients of reproductive potential that prolonged use of PALLADONE 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

Inform patients that potentially serious additive effects may occur if PALLADONE 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 PALLADONE, including the following:

  • Swallowing PALLADONE whole
  • Not crushing, chewing, splitting or dissolving the capsule
  • Using PALLADONE exactly as prescribed to reduce the risk of life-threatening adverse reactions (e.g., respiratory depression)
  • Not discontinuing PALLADONE without first discussing the need for a tapering regimen with the prescriber
Gastrointestinal Blockage

Advise patients that people with certain stomach or intestinal problems such as narrowing of the intestines or previous surgery may be at higher risk of developing a blockage. Symptoms include abdominal distension, abdominal pain, severe constipation, or vomiting. Instruct patients to contact their healthcare provider immediately if they develop these symptoms.


Inform patients that PALLADONE 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 PALLADONE 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 PALLADONE. Advise patients how to recognize such a reaction and when to seek medical attention.


Advise female patients that PALLADONE can cause fetal harm and to inform the prescriber if they are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.


Advise patients to flush the unused capsules down the toilet when PALLADONE is no longer needed.

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility


No carcinogenicity studies have been conducted in animals.

Hydromorphone was negative in the in vitro bacterial reverse mutation assay and in the in vivo mouse micronucleus assay. Hydromorphone was negative in the mouse lymphoma assay in the absence of metabolic activation, but was positive in the mouse lymphoma assay in the presence of metabolic activation. Morphinone, an impurity, tested as a besylate salt was negative in the in vitro bacterial reverse mutation assay and negative in the in vivo mouse micronucleus assay. Morphinone was positive in the Chinese Hamster Ovary Cell Chromosomal Aberration test in the absence and presence of metabolic activation.

Hydromorphone did not affect fertility in rats at oral doses up to 5 mg/kg which is equivalent to a 32 mg human daily oral dose on a body surface area basis.


Hydromorphone was not mutagenic in the in vitro bacterial reverse mutation assay (Ames assay). Hydromorphone was not clastogenic in either the in vitro human lymphocyte chromosome aberration assay or the in vivo mouse micronucleus assay.

Impairment of Fertility

Hydromorphone given orally to rats during the mating period caused a slight but statistically significant reduction in implantations at 6.25 mg/kg/day (~1.2 times the human exposure following to 32 mg/day).

Use In Specific Populations


Clinical Considerations

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. PALLADONE should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Hydromorphone was not teratogenic in female rats given oral doses up to 10 mg/kg or female rabbits given oral doses up to 50 mg/kg during the major period of organ development. Estimated exposures in the female rat and rabbit were approximately 3-fold and 6-fold higher than a 32 mg human daily oral dose based on exposure (AUC0-24h).

Hydromorphone administration to pregnant Syrian hamsters and CF-1 mice during major organ development revealed teratogenicity likely the result of maternal toxicity associated with sedation and hypoxia. In Syrian hamsters given single subcutaneous doses from 14 to 278 mg/kg during organogenesis (gestation days 8 to10), doses ≥ 19 mg/kg hydromorphone produced skull malformations (exencephaly and cranioschisis). Continuous infusion of hydromorphone (5 mg/kg, s.c.) via implanted osmotic mini pumps during organogenesis (gestation days 7 to10) produced soft tissue malformations (cryptorchidism, cleft palate, malformed ventricals and retina), and skeletal variations (supraoccipital, checkerboard and split sternebrae, delayed ossification of the paws and ectopic ossification sites). The malformations and variations observed in the hamsters and mice were at doses approximately 3-fold higher and < 1-fold lower, respectively, than a 32 mg human daily oral dose on a body surface area basis.

Nonteratogenic Effect

In a rat pre-and post-natal study, an increase in pup mortality and a decrease in pup body weight which was associated with maternal toxicity was observed at doses of 2 and 5 mg/kg/day. The maternal no effect level for hydromorphone was 0.5 mg/kg/day which is < 1-fold lower than a 32 mg human daily oral dose on a body surface area. Hydromorphone had no effect on pup development or reproduction when given to female rats during the pre-natal and postnatal periods up to a dose of 5 mg/kg which is equivalent to a 32 mg human daily oral dose on a body surface area basis.

Neonates born to mothers who have been taking opioids regularly prior to delivery will be physically dependent. The withdrawal signs include irritability and excessive crying, tremors, hyperactive reflexes, increased respiratory rate, increased stools, sneezing, yawning, vomiting, and fever. The intensity of the syndrome does not always correlate with the duration of maternal opioid use or dose. There is no consensus on the best method of managing withdrawal. Approaches to the treatment of the syndrome have included supportive care and, if indicated, drugs such as paregoric or phenobarbital.

Labor And Delivery

PALLADONE is not for use in women during and immediately prior to labor, where shorter acting analgesics or other analgesic techniques are more appropriate [see INDICATIONS AND USAGE]. Occasionally, opioid analgesics may prolong labor by temporarily reducing the strength, duration, and frequency of uterine contractions. However, these effects are not consistent and may be offset by an increased rate of cervical dilatation which tends to shorten labor.

Opioids cross the placenta and may produce respiratory depression and psychophysiologic effects in neonates. Closely observe neonates whose mothers received opioid analgesics during labor for signs of respiratory depression. An opioid antagonist, such as naloxone, should be available for reversal of opioid-induced respiratory depression in the neonate in such situations.

Nursing Mothers

Low concentrations of hydromorphone have been detected in human milk in clinical trials. Withdrawal symptoms can occur in breastfeeding infants when maternal administration of an opioid analgesic is stopped. Nursing should not be undertaken while a patient is receiving PALLADONE since hydromorphone is excreted in the milk.

Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of PALLADONE in pediatric patients below the age of 18 have not been established.

Geriatric Use

Elderly patients have been shown to be more sensitive to the adverse effects of opioids compared to the younger population. Of the total number of subjects in clinical studies of Palladone, 22% were 65 and over, and 6% were 75 and over. Dosages should be adjusted according to the clinical situation. As with all opioids, the starting dose should be reduced to 1/3 to ½ of the usual dosage in debilitated patients. Respiratory depression is the chief hazard in elderly or debilitated patients, usually following large initial doses in non-tolerant patients, or when opioids are given in conjunction with other agents that depress respiration. Therefore, closely monitor elderly patients for respiratory and central nervous system depression when prescribing PALLADONE, particularly during initiation and titration.

Hepatic Impairment

PALLADONE was not studied in patients with severe hepatic impairment and are not recommended for use in such patients. Care in initial dose selection and careful observation are recommended in patients with evidence of mild to moderate hepatic impairment.

Renal Impairment

In patients with mild to moderate renal impairment, based on calculated creatinine clearance, the concentrations of hydromorphone in plasma were slightly higher than in subjects with normal renal function.

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 5/1/2014


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