Extended-release hydrocodone – gift or curse?
Daniel Krashin,1 Natalia Murinova,2 Andrea M Trescot3
1Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, 2Department of Neurology University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA 3Algone Pain Center, Wasilla, AK, USA
Abstract: Hydrocodone is a semisynthetic opioid, which has been used for decades as a short-acting analgesic combined with acetaminophen (or less commonly ibuprofen). Several long-acting, non-acetaminophen-containing hydrocodone formulations are undergoing trials in the US under the auspices of the US Food and Drug Administration, and may be available shortly. This article reviews some of the advantages (including drug familiarity and lack of acetaminophen toxicity) and potential disadvantages (including altered use patterns and high morphine equivalent dosing) of such a medication formulation. We also discuss the abuse potential of long-acting versus short-acting opioids in general and hydrocodone specifically, as well as the metabolism of hydrocodone.
Keywords: hydrocodone, long-acting opioids, opioid abuse, acetaminophen toxicity, tamper-resistant opioids
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