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Last reviewed on RxList: 4/20/2018

(bupivacaine liposome) Injectable Suspension


EXPAREL is a sterile, non-pyrogenic white to off-white preservative-free aqueous suspension of multivesicular liposomes (DepoFoam® drug delivery system) containing bupivacaine. Bupivacaine is present at a concentration of 13.3 mg/mL. After injection of EXPAREL into soft tissue, bupivacaine is released from the multivesicular liposomes over a period of time.

Active Ingredient

Bupivacaine is related chemically and pharmacologically to the amide-type local anesthetics. It is a homologue of mepivacaine and is related chemically to lidocaine. All three of these anesthetics contain an amide linkage between the aromatic nucleus and the amino, or piperidine group. They differ in this respect from the procaine-type local anesthetics, which have an ester linkage. Chemically, Bupivacaine is 1-butyl-N-(2,6-dimethylphenyl)-2-piperidinecarboxamide with a molecular weight of 288.4. Bupivacaine has the following structural formula:

EXPAREL (Bupivacaine Liposome) Structural Formula Illustration

Lipid Formulation

The median diameter of the liposome particles ranges from 24 to 31 μm. The liposomes are suspended in a 0.9% sodium chloride solution. Each vial contains bupivacaine at a nominal concentration of 13.3 mg/mL. Inactive ingredients and their nominal concentrations are: cholesterol, 4.7 mg/mL; 1, 2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3 phospho-rac-(1-glycerol) (DPPG), 0.9 mg/mL; tricaprylin, 2.0 mg/mL; and 1, 2-dierucoylphosphatidylcholine (DEPC), 8.2 mg/mL. The pH of EXPAREL is in the range of 5.8 to 7.4.

Liposomal encapsulation or incorporation in a lipid complex can substantially affect a drug's functional properties relative to those of the unencapsulated or nonlipid-associated drug. In addition, different liposomal or lipid-complexed products with a common active ingredient may vary from one another in the chemical composition and physical form of the lipid component. Such differences may affect functional properties of these drug products. Do not substitute.