Dosing Information

Dosing Information

  • APADAZ® (benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen tablets), the first FDA-approved prodrug of hydrocodone + APAP
  • Also available as an authorized generic
  • Unlike generic hydrocodone/APAP from multiple sources, every prescription of APADAZ will have a consistent appearance from the same U.S. manufacturer

Available in 3 dosage strengths for flexibility and multiple titration options

  • 4.08 mg benzhydrocodone and 325 mg acetaminophen
  • 6.12 mg benzhydrocodone and 325 mg acetaminophen
  • 8.16 mg benzhydrocodone and 325 mg acetaminophen
Available in 3 dosage strengths for flexibility and multiple titration options

Dosing Administration

APADAZ Dosing Administration prescription pad

Use of APADAZ® as First Opioid Analgesic

  • Initiate treatment with APADAZ at 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours as needed for pain
  • Use the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration consistent with the individual patient’s treatment goal
  • Dosage should not exceed 12 tablets in a 24-hour period
  • The total dosage of APADAZ and any concomitant acetaminophen-containing products should not exceed 4000 mg of acetaminophen in a 24-hour period

Conversion from Hydrocodone Bitartrate/Acetaminophen to APADAZ

Hydrocodone Bitartrate/Acetaminophen Dose Strengths (mg) APADAZ-Equivalent Dose Strengths (mg)
5/325 4.08/325
7.5/325 6.12/325
10/325 8.16/325

Important Safety Information

WARNING: ADDICTION, ABUSE, AND MISUSE; RISK EVALUATION AND MITIGATION STRATEGY (REMS); LIFE-THREATENING RESPIRATORY DEPRESSION; ACCIDENTAL INGESTION; NEONATAL OPIOID WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME; CYTOCHROME P450 3A4 INTERACTION; HEPATOTOXICITY; and RISKS FROM CONCOMITANT USE WITH BENZODIAZEPINES OR OTHER CNS DEPRESSANTS

Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse

APADAZ exposes patients and other users to the risks of opioid addiction, abuse, and misuse, which can lead to overdose and death. Assess each patient’s risk prior to prescribing APADAZ, and monitor all patients regularly for the development of these behaviors and conditions.

Opioid Analgesic Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS)

To ensure that the benefits of opioid analgesics outweigh the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required a REMS for these products. Under the requirements of the REMS, drug companies with approved opioid analgesic products must make REMS-compliant education programs available to healthcare providers. Healthcare providers are strongly encouraged to

  • complete a REMS-compliant education program,
  • counsel patients and/or their caregivers, with every prescription, on safe use, serious risks, storage, and disposal of these products,
  • emphasize to patients and their caregivers the importance of reading the Medication Guide every time it is provided by their pharmacist, and
  • consider other tools to improve patient, household, and community safety.

Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression

Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression may occur with use of APADAZ. Monitor for respiratory depression, especially during initiation of APADAZ or following a dose increase.

Accidental Ingestion

Accidental ingestion of even one dose of APADAZ, especially by children, can result in a fatal overdose of hydrocodone.

Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome

Prolonged use of APADAZ during pregnancy can result in neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, which may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated, and requires management according to protocols developed by neonatology experts. If prolonged opioid use is required in a pregnant woman, advise the patient of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available.

Cytochrome P450 3A4 Interaction

The concomitant use of APADAZ with all cytochrome P450 3A4 inhibitors may result in an increase in hydrocodone plasma concentrations, which could increase or prolong adverse reactions and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression. In addition, discontinuation of a concomitantly used cytochrome P450 3A4 inducer may result in an increase in hydrocodone plasma concentration. Monitor patients receiving APADAZ and any CYP3A4 inhibitor or inducer.

Hepatotoxicity

APADAZ contains acetaminophen. Acetaminophen has been associated with cases of acute liver failure, at times resulting in liver transplant and death. Most of the cases of liver injury are associated with the use of acetaminophen at doses that exceed 4000 milligrams per day, and often involve more than one acetaminophen-containing product.

Risks From Concomitant Use With Benzodiazepines Or Other CNS Depressants

Concomitant use of opioids with benzodiazepines or other central nervous system (CNS) depressants, including alcohol, may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death.

  • Reserve concomitant prescribing of APADAZ and benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate.
  • Limit dosages and durations to the minimum required.
  • Follow patients for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation.

INDICATIONS AND USAGE

APADAZ is indicated for the short-term (no more than 14 days) management of acute pain severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which alternative treatments are inadequate.

Limitations of Use

Because of the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse with opioids, even at recommended doses, reserve APADAZ for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options [e.g., non-opioid analgesics]:

  • Have not been tolerated, or are not expected to be tolerated,
  • Have not provided adequate analgesia, or are not expected to provide adequate analgesia.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

APADAZ is contraindicated in patients with:

Significant respiratory depression
Acute or severe bronchial asthma in an unmonitored setting or in the absence of resuscitative equipment
Known or suspected gastrointestinal obstruction, including paralytic ileus
Hypersensitivity to hydrocodone or acetaminophen, or any other component of this product (e.g., anaphylaxis)

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse

APADAZ contains benzhydrocodone, a Schedule II controlled substance. As an opioid, APADAZ exposes users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse.

Although the risk of addiction in any individual is unknown, it can occur in patients appropriately prescribed APADAZ. Addiction can occur at recommended dosages and if the drug is misused or abused.

Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression

Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression has been reported with the use of opioids, even when used as recommended. Respiratory depression, if not immediately recognized and treated, may lead to respiratory arrest and death.

Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome

Prolonged use of APADAZ during pregnancy can result in withdrawal 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. Observe newborns for signs of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and manage accordingly.

Risks of Concomitant Use or Discontinuation of Cytochrome P450 CYP3A4 Inhibitors and Inducers

Concomitant use of APADAZ with a CYP3A4 inhibitor, such as macrolide antibiotics (e.g., erythromycin), azole-antifungal agents (e.g., ketoconazole), and protease inhibitors (e.g., ritonavir), may increase plasma concentrations of hydrocodone and prolong opioid adverse reactions, which may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression, particularly when an inhibitor is added after a stable dose of APADAZ is achieved. Similarly, discontinuation of a CYP3A4 inducer, such as rifampin, carbamazepine, and phenytoin, in APADAZ-treated patients may increase hydrocodone plasma concentrations and prolong opioid adverse reactions. When using APADAZ with CYP3A4 inhibitors or discontinuing CYP3A4 inducers in APADAZ-treated patients, monitor patients closely at frequent intervals and consider dosage reduction of APADAZ until stable drug effects are achieved.

Concomitant use of APADAZ with CYP3A4 inducers or discontinuation of an CYP3A4 inhibitor could decrease hydrocodone plasma concentrations, decrease opioid efficacy or, possibly, lead to a withdrawal syndrome in a patient who had developed physical dependence to hydrocodone. When using APADAZ with CYP3A4 inducers or discontinuing CYP3A4 inhibitors, monitor patients closely at frequent intervals and consider increasing the opioid dosage if needed to maintain adequate analgesia or if symptoms of opioid withdrawal occur.

Acetaminophen Hepatotoxicity

APADAZ contains acetaminophen. Acetaminophen has been associated with cases of acute liver failure, at times resulting in liver transplant and death. Most of the cases of liver injury are associated with the use of acetaminophen at doses that exceed 4000 milligrams per day, and often involve more than one acetaminophen-containing product. The excessive intake of acetaminophen may be intentional to cause self-harm or unintentional as patients attempt to obtain more pain relief or unknowingly take other acetaminophen-containing products.

The risk of acute liver failure is higher in individuals with underlying liver disease and in individuals who ingest alcohol while taking acetaminophen.

Risks from Concomitant Use with Benzodiazepines or Other CNS Depressants

Profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death may result from the concomitant use of APADAZ with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants (e.g., non-benzodiazepine sedatives/hypnotics, anxiolytics, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, general anesthetics, antipsychotics, other opioids, alcohol). Because of these risks, reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate.

Advise both patients and caregivers about the risks of respiratory depression and sedation when APADAZis used with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants (including alcohol and illicit drugs). Advise patients not to drive or operate heavy machinery until the effects of concomitant use of the benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant have been determined. Screen patients for risk of substance use disorders, including opioid abuse and misuse, and warn them of the risk for overdose and death associated with the use of additional CNS depressants including alcohol and illicit drugs.

Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression in Patients with Chronic Pulmonary Disease or in Elderly, Cachectic, or Debilitated Patients

The use of APADAZ in patients with acute or severe bronchial asthma in an unmonitored setting or in the absence of resuscitative equipment is contraindicated.

Patients with Chronic Pulmonary Disease:APADAZ-treated patients with significant chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cor pulmonale, and those with a substantially decreased respiratory reserve, hypoxia, hypercapnia, or pre-existing respiratory depression are at increased risk of decreased respiratory drive including apnea, even at recommended dosages of APADAZ.

Elderly, Cachectic, or Debilitated Patients: Life-threatening respiratory depression is more likely to occur in elderly, cachectic, or debilitated patients because they may have altered pharmacokinetics or altered clearance compared to younger, healthier patients.

Monitor such patients closely, particularly when initiating and titrating APADAZ and when APADAZ is given concomitantly with other drugs that depress respiration. Alternatively, consider the use of non-opioid analgesics in these patients.

Adrenal Insufficiency

Cases of adrenal insufficiency have been reported with opioid use, more often following greater than one month of use.

Severe Hypotension

APADAZ may cause severe hypotension including orthostatic hypotension and syncope in ambulatory patients. There is 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).  Monitor these patients for signs of hypotension after initiating or titrating the dosage of APADAZ. In patients with circulatory shock, APADAZ may cause vasodilation that can further reduce cardiac output and blood pressure. Avoid the use of APADAZ in patients with circulatory shock.

Serious Skin Reactions

Rarely, acetaminophen may cause serious skin reactions such as acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP), Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), which can be fatal. Inform patients about the signs of serious skin reactions and discontinue use at the first appearance of skin rash or any other sign of hypersensitivity.

Risks of Use in Patients with Increased Intracranial Pressure, Brain Tumors, Head Injury, or Impaired Consciousness

In patients who may be susceptible to the intracranial effects of CO2retention (e.g., those with evidence of increased intracranial pressure or brain tumors), APADAZ may reduce respiratory drive, and the resultant CO2retention can further increase intracranial pressure. Monitor such patients for signs of sedation and respiratory depression, particularly when initiating therapy with APADAZ.

Opioids may also obscure the clinical course in a patient with a head injury. Avoid the use of APADAZ in patients with impaired consciousness or coma.

Hypersensitivity/Anaphylaxis

There have been post-marketing reports of hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis associated with use of acetaminophen. Clinical signs included swelling of the face, mouth, and throat, respiratory distress, urticaria, rash, pruritus, and vomiting. There were infrequent reports of life-threatening anaphylaxis requiring emergency medical attention. Instruct patients to discontinue APADAZ tablets immediately and seek medical care if they experience these symptoms. Do not prescribe APADAZ tablets for patients with acetaminophen allergy.

Risks of Use in Patients with Gastrointestinal Conditions

APADAZ is contraindicated in patients with known or suspected gastrointestinal obstruction, including paralytic ileus.

The hydrocodone from APADAZ may cause spasm of the sphincter of Oddi. Opioids may cause increases in serum amylase. Monitor patients with biliary tract disease, including acute pancreatitis for worsening symptoms.

Increased Risk of Seizures in Patients with Seizure Disorders

The hydrocodone from APADAZ may increase the frequency of seizures in patients with seizure disorders, and may increase the risk of seizures occurring in other clinical settings associated with seizures. Monitor patients with a history of seizure disorders for worsened seizure control during APADAZ therapy.

Withdrawal

Avoid the use of mixed agonist/antagonist (e.g, pentazocine, nalbuphine, and butorphanol) or partial agonist (e.g., buprenorphine) analgesics in patients who are receiving a full opioid agonist analgesic, including APADAZ. In these patients, mixed agonist/antagonist and partial agonist analgesics may reduce the analgesic effect and/or precipitate withdrawal symptoms.

When discontinuing APADAZ, gradually taper the dosage. Do not abruptly discontinue APADAZ.

Risks of Driving and Operating Machinery

APADAZ 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 APADAZ and know how they will react to the medication.

ADVERSE REACTIONS

The following serious adverse reactions are described, or described in greater detail, in the Full Prescribing Information.

  • Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse
  • Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression
  • Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome
  • Hepatotoxicity
  • Interactions with Benzodiazepines and other CNS Depressants
  • Adrenal Insufficiency
  • Severe Hypotension
  • Serious Skin Reactions
  • Anaphylaxis and Other Hypersensitivity Reactions
  • Gastrointestinal Adverse Reactions
  • Seizures
  • Withdrawal

Serotonin syndrome: Cases of serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition, have been reported during concomitant use of opioids with serotonergic drugs.

Adrenal insufficiency: Cases of adrenal insufficiency have been reported with opioid use, more often following greater than one month of use.

Anaphylaxis: Anaphylaxis has been reported with ingredients contained in APADAZ.

Androgen deficiency: Cases of androgen deficiency have occurred with chronic use of opioids.

DRUG INTERACTIONS
The following table includes clinically significant drug interactions with APADAZ:

CYP3A4 and 2D6 Inhibitors

The concomitant use of APADAZ and CYP3A4 inhibitors can increase the plasma concentration of hydrocodone, resulting in increased or prolonged opioid effects. These effects could be more pronounced with concomitant use of APADAZ and CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 inhibitors, particularly when an inhibitor is added after a stable dose of APADAZ is achieved.

After stopping a CYP3A4 inhibitor, as the effects of the inhibitor decline, the hydrocodone plasma concentration will decrease, resulting in decreased opioid efficacy or a withdrawal syndrome in patients who had developed physical dependence to hydrocodone.

CYP3A4 Inducers

The concomitant use of APADAZ and CYP3A4 inducers can decrease the plasma concentration of hydrocodone, resulting in decreased efficacy or onset of a withdrawal syndrome in patients who have developed physical dependence to hydrocodone.

After stopping a CYP3A4 inducer, as the effects of the inducer decline, the hydrocodone plasma concentration will increase, which could increase or prolong both the therapeutic effects and adverse reactions, and may cause serious respiratory depression.

Benzodiazepines and Other Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants

Due to additive pharmacologic effect, the concomitant use of benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants, including alcohol, increases the risk of hypotension, respiratory depression, profound sedation, coma, and death.

Serotonergic Drugs

The concomitant use of opioids with other drugs that affect the serotonergic neurotransmitter system has resulted in serotonin syndrome.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

MAOI interactions with opioids may manifest as serotonin syndrome or opioid toxicity (e.g., respiratory depression, coma).

If urgent use of an opioid is necessary, use test doses and frequent titration of small doses to treat pain while closely monitoring blood pressure and signs and symptoms of CNS and respiratory depression.

Muscle Relaxants

Hydrocodone may enhance the neuromuscular blocking action of skeletal muscle relaxants and produce an increased degree of respiratory depression.

Diuretics

Opioids can reduce the efficacy of diuretics by inducing the release of antidiuretic hormone.

Anticholinergic Drugs

The concomitant use of anticholinergic drugs may increase risk of urinary retention and/or severe constipation, which may lead to paralytic ileus.

USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS

Pregnancy

Prolonged use of opioid analgesics during pregnancy may cause neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome. There are no available human data on hydrocodone or APADAZ use during pregnancy to inform any drug associated risks. However, neonatal opioid withdrawal and other adverse reactions during pregnancy and labor can occur with use of APADAZ.

Labor or Delivery

Opioids cross the placenta and may produce respiratory depression and psycho-physiologic effects in neonates. An opioid antagonist, such as naloxone, must be available for reversal of opioid-induced respiratory depression in the neonate. APADAZ is not recommended for use in pregnant women during or immediately prior to labor, when other analgesic techniques are more appropriate. Opioid analgesics, including APADAZ, can prolong labor through actions which 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 dilation, which tends to shorten labor.Monitor neonates exposed to opioid analgesics during labor for signs of excess sedation and respiratory depression.

Published data from a large population-based prospective cohort study and a population-based, case-control study do not clearly report an association with oral acetaminophen and major birth defects, miscarriage, or adverse maternal or fetal outcomes when acetaminophen is used during pregnancy. However, these studies cannot definitely establish the absence of any risk because of methodological limitations including recall bias.

Lactation

Hydrocodone is present in human milk. A published lactation study reports variable concentrations of hydrocodone and hydromorphone (an active metabolite) in breast milk with administration of hydrocodone to nursing mothers in the early post-partum period. This lactation study did not assess breastfed infants for potential adverse drug reactions. There is potential for sedation and respiratory depression resulting from infant exposure to hydrocodone and its metabolites in breast milk.

Acetaminophen is present in human milk in small quantities after oral administration. Based on data from more than 15 nursing mothers, the calculated infant daily dose of acetaminophen is approximately 1 to 2% of the maternal dose. There is one well-documented report of a rash in a breastfed infant that resolved when the mother stopped acetaminophen use and recurred when she resumed acetaminophen use.

The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for APADAZ and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed child from APADAZ or from the underlying maternal condition.

Females and Males of Reproductive Potential

Infertility

Chronic use of opioids may cause reduced fertility in females and males of reproductive potential. It is not known whether these effects on fertility are reversible.

Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients below the age of 18 years have not been established.

Geriatric Use

Elderly patients (aged 65 years or older) may have increased sensitivity to hydrocodone. In general, use caution when selecting a dosage for an elderly patient, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.

Respiratory depression is the chief risk for elderly patients treated with opioids, and has occurred after large initial doses were administered to patients who were not opioid-tolerant or when opioids were co-administered with other agents that depress respiration. Titrate the dosage of APADAZ slowly in geriatric patients and monitor closely for signs of respiratory depression.

Hydrocodone and acetaminophen are known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of adverse reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection, and it may be useful to monitor renal function.

Hepatic Impairment

The effect of hepatic impairment on the pharmacokinetics of APADAZ has not been determined. Patients with hepatic impairment may have higher plasma concentrations than those with normal function. Use a low initial dose of APADAZ in patients with hepatic impairment or active liver disease and monitor closely for adverse events such as respiratory depression and hepatotoxicity.

Renal Impairment

The effect of renal impairment on the pharmacokinetics of APADAZ has not been determined. Patients with renal impairment may have higher plasma concentrations than those with normal function. Use a low initial dose of APADAZ in patients with renal impairment and monitor closely for adverse events such as respiratory depression.

Please see Full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning and Medication Guide.

View Full ISI

WARNING: ADDICTION, ABUSE, AND MISUSE; RISK EVALUATION AND MITIGATION STRATEGY (REMS); LIFE-THREATENING RESPIRATORY DEPRESSION; ACCIDENTAL INGESTION; NEONATAL OPIOID WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME; CYTOCHROME P450 3A4 INTERACTION; HEPATOTOXICITY; and RISKS FROM CONCOMITANT USE WITH BENZODIAZEPINES OR OTHER CNS DEPRESSANTS

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