Information About OXECTA (oxycodone) Tablets
Oxecta (oxycodone) was approved for marketing in the U.S. in June of 2011. It is the special creation of the combined efforts of Pfizer (a major U.S. drug manufacturer and research company) and Acura Pharmaceuticals (producers of abuse deterring technologies and products).
Oxecta is an immediate release formulation of oxycodone. That means that the medicine works more quickly and must be taken more frequently than other "long acting" forms of oxycodone (such as Oxycontin). Specifically, Oxecta is intended for dosing every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain.
Oxecta is approved for the managemnent of BOTH acute (i.e. short term) and chronic (long term) pain in which the use of a narcotic analgesic is appropriate. It has been assigned a DEA classification of "Schedule II" (on a scale of I - V). Schedule II drugs have the highest potential for addiction or abuse of any prescription medication.
What Makes Oxecta Unique?
What makes Oxecta unique is NOT how effective it is for pain. Rather, Oxecta has been manufactured with the specific intention of reducing the ease of abuse by formulating it in a special way.
Oxycodone abuse is a serious problem in many ways. Often, when we think of the "abuse" problem, our inclination is to think of the illegal sales, the diversion, the theft and robbery and even deaths that accompany this epidemic. These are concerning, especially since prescribing of oxycodone is accelerating at rates far beyond what should be expected based on normal population growth. These things, however, are only a part of the issue.
As important (and maybe even more important in my opinion) is the stigma created and the difficulties encountered by legitimate pain patients trying to simply manage their activities of daily living with the help of a powerful narcotic like oxycodone. Because people abuse, steal and sell oxycodone...those who are using it to treat actual pain are often punished. Access to needed medication becomes difficult. Prescribers are, naturally, more reluctant to prescribe it.
Oxecta offers physicians the opportunity to prescribe oxycodone with a significantly lower possibility of abuse due to some cool chemistry loaded into each tablet to prevent tampering. This "anti-tamper" technology involves 2 mechanisms:
- The addition of SLS (sodium laurel sulfate) which, if the tablet is crushed and snorted, will produce a very uncomfortable burning in the nostrils
- The addition of gel-forming chemicals (totally harmless when swallowed) that make it very difficult to inject the crushed and dissolved product through a syringe needle.
While Oxecta is not going to stop the abuse of other oxycodone products, it does offer a step in a good direction - especially for patients who truly need oxycodone for pain. However, this is only a small step. The cost is likely to be prohibitive for some patients. Also, patients who intend to divert oxycodone are probably still going to be able to find prescribers to assist them. Nevertheless, as a health care professional I believe we need to keep taking steps in the direction of improving access to needed medications for legitimate purposes, while also deterring those who seek to abuse the same medications. Oxectra is headed in that direction, and I applaud their efforts.
Resources for Chronic Pain
DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this article or any of my articles is intended to replace or substitute for the advice of your own physician or pharmacist. The information provided in this article is strictly for the purpose of information - and should not be taken as personal medical advice.
Using Oxecta & Side Effects
Dosage & Administration:
Oxecta tablets, which are available as 5mg and 7.5mg, should be taken with a full glass of water. Do NOT crush Oxecta tablets. Do not attempt to give them via an NG tube or feeding tube.
Typically a patient will begin therapy using 5mg to 15mg by mouth every 4 to 6 hours. This dose may be increased over time, in conjunction with your physician. Do not increase your dose without checking with your prescriber.
Side Effects: As with any opioid narcotic analgesic, patients might experience the following:
- Constipation (consider taking a stool softener if necessary)
- Nausea (take with food, this might help)
- Vomiting (as with nausea, taking with food may help)
- Dizziness (do not plan to drive and so NOT mix with alcohol)
- Headache (note, headaches can be from many things. If this persists, talk to your doctor)
- MORE SEVERE side effects such as excessive drowsiness, difficulty breathing or a rash should be reported to your physician immediately.
It is important NOT to combine Oxecta with other medications that may seriously suppress the CNS (central nervous system) like sleeping aids or other narcotics, unless specifically instructed to do so.
The full prescribing information for Oxectra can be found by CLICKING HERE
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