"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 \i and K) 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.
Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) works by inhibiting the body's production of prostaglandins, including prostaglandins involved in inflammation. Prostaglandins cause pain sensations by stimulating muscle contractions and dilating blood vessels throughout the body. In the CNS, aspirin works on the hypothalamus heat-regulating center to reduce fever, however, other mechanisms may be involved.
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.
Aspirin can produce gastrointestinal injury (lesions, ulcers) through a mechanism that is not yet completely understood, but may involve a reduction in eicosanoid synthesis by the gastric mucosa. Decreased production of prostaglandins may compromise the defenses of the gastric mucosa and the activity of substances involved in tissue repair and ulcer healing.
Aspirin affects platelet aggregation by irreversibly inhibiting prostaglandin cyclo-oxygenase. This effect lasts for the life of the platelet and prevents the formation of the platelet aggregating factor thromboxane A2. Nonacetylated salicylates do not inhibit this enzyme and have no effect on platelet aggregation. At somewhat higher doses, aspirin reversibly inhibits the formation of prostaglandin 12 (prostacyclin), which is an arterial vasodilator and inhibits platelet aggregation.
The mean absolute oral bioavailability of oxycodone in cancer patients was reported to be about 87%. This high oral bioavailability is due to low pre-systemic elimination and/or first-pass metabolism.
The volume of distribution after intravenous administration is 211.9 +186.6 L. Oxycodone has been shown to be 45% bound to human plasma proteins in vitro. Oxycodone has been found in breast milk [see PRECAUTIONS].
Aspirin is hydrolyzed primarily to salicylic acid in the gut wall and during first-pass metabolism through the liver. Salicylic acid is absorbed rapidly from the stomach, but most of the absorption occurs in the proximal small intestine. Following absorption, salicylate is distributed to most body tissues and fluids, including fetal tissues, breast milk, and the CNS. High concentrations are found in the liver and kidneys. Salicylate is variably bound to serum proteins, particularly albumin.
Oxycodone is extensively metabolized by multiple metabolic pathways to produce noroxycodone, oxymorphone and noroxymorphone, which are subsequently glucuronidated. Noroxycodone and noroxymorphone are the major circulating metabolites. CYP3A mediated N-demethylation to noroxycodone is the primary metabolic pathway of oxycodone with a lower contribution from CYP2D6 mediated O-demethylation to oxymorphone. Therefore, the formation of these and related metabolites can, in theory, be affected by other drugs (see Drug-Drug Interactions).
Noroxycodone exhibits very weak anti-nociceptive potency compared to oxycodone, however, it undergoes further oxidation to produce noroxymorphone, which is active at opioid receptors. Although noroxymorphone is an active metabolite and present at relatively high concentrations in circulation, it does not appear to cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant extent. Oxymorphone, is present in the plasma only at low concentrations and undergoes further metabolism to form its glucuronide and noroxymorphone. Oxymorphone has been shown to be active and possessing analgesic activity but its contribution to analgesia following oxycodone administration is thought to be clinically insignificant, based on the amount formed. Other metabolites (α- and β-oxycodol, noroxycodol and oxymorphol) may be present at very low concentrations and demonstrate limited penetration into the brain as compared to oxycodone. The enzymes responsible for keto-reduction and glucuronidation pathways in oxycodone metabolism have not been established.
The biotransformation of aspirin occurs primarily in the liver by the microsomal enzyme system. With a plasma half-life of approximately 15 minutes, aspirin is rapidly hydrolyzed to salicylate. At low doses, salicylate elimination follows first-order kinetics. The plasma half-life of salicylate is approximately 2 to 3 hours.
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.
Approximately 10% of aspirin is excreted as unchanged salicylate in the urine. The major metabolites excreted in the urine are salicyluric acid (75%), salicyl phenolic glucuronide (10%), salicyl acyl glucuronide (5%), and gentisic and gentisuric acid (less than 1%) each. Eighty to 100% of a single dose is excreted in the urine within 24 to 72 hours.
Drug- Drug Interactions
Inhibitors of CYP3A4
Since the CYP3A4 isoenzyme plays a major role in the metabolism of PERCODAN (aspirin and oxycodone hydrochloride) , drugs that inhibit CYP3A4 activity, such as macrolide antibiotics (e.g., erythromycin), azole-antifungal agents (e.g., ketoconazole), and protease inhibitors (e.g., ritonavir), may cause decreased clearance of oxycodone which could lead to an increase in oxycodone plasma concentrations. A published study showed that the co-administration of the antifungal drug, voriconazole, increased oxycodone AUC and Cmax by 3.6 and 1.7 fold, respectively. The expected clinical results would be increased or prolonged opioid effects.
CYP450 inducers, such as rifampin, carbamazepine, and phenytoin, may induce the metabolism of oxycodone, may cause increased clearance of the drug which could lead to a decrease in oxycodone plasma concentrations. A published study showed that the co-administration of rifampin, a drug metabolizing enzyme inducer, decreased oxycodone (oral) AUC and Cmax by 86% and 63% respectively. The expected clinical results would be lack of efficacy or, possibly, development of abstinence syndrome in a patient who had developed physical dependence to oxycodone. Induction of CYP3A4 may be of greatest importance given oxycodone's metabolic pathways.
Last reviewed on RxList: 8/12/2010
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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