Prescription Drug Information: Norco

NORCO- hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablet
Allergan, Inc.

WARNING: ADDICTION, ABUSE, AND MISUSE; RISK EVALUATION AND MITIGATION ST R ATEGY (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

NORCO ® 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 NORCO , and monitor all patients regularly for the development of these behaviors and conditions [see WARNINGS ].

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 [see WARNINGS ]. 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 NORCO . Monitor for respiratory depression, especially during initiation of NORCO or following a dose increase [see WARNINGS ].

Accidental Ingestion

Accidental ingestion of NORCO , especially by children, can result in a fatal overdose of NORCO [see WARNINGS ].

Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome

Prolonged use of NORCO 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 opioid use is required for a prolonged period in a pregnant woman, advise the patient of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available [see WARNINGS ].

Cytochrome P450 3A4 Interaction

The concomitant use of NORCO with all C ytochrome P450 3A4 inhibitors may result in an increase in NORCO plasma concentrations, which could increase or prolong adverse reactions and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression. In addition, discontinuation of a concomitantly used C ytochrome P450 3A4 inducer may result in an increase in NORCO plasma concentration s . Monitor patients receiving NORCO and any Cytochrome P450 3A4 inhibitor or inducer for signs of respiratory depression or sedation [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY , WARNINGS , and PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions ].

Hepatotoxicity

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 4 , 000 milligrams per day, and often involve more than one acetaminophen - containing product [see WARNINGS , OVERDOSAGE ].

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 [see WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions ] .

  • Reserve concomitant prescribing of NORCO 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.

DESCRIPTION

NORCO® (hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen) is available in tablet form for oral administration.

Hydrocodone bitartrate is an opioid analgesic and occurs as fine, white crystals or as a crystalline powder. It is affected by light. The chemical name is 4,5α-epoxy-3-methoxy-17-methylmorphinan-6-one tartrate (1:1) hydrate (2:5). It has the following structural formula:

The following structural formula for Hydrocodone bitartrate is an opioid analgesic and occurs as fine, white crystals or as a crystalline powder. It is affected by light. The chemical name is 4,5α-epoxy-3-methoxy-17-methylmorphinan-6-one tartrate (1:1) hydrate (2:5).
(click image for full-size original)

C18 H21 NO3 •C4 H6 O6 •2½H2 O M.W. = 494.49

Acetaminophen, 4’-hydroxyacetanilide, a slightly bitter, white, odorless, crystalline powder, is a non-opiate, non-salicylate analgesic and antipyretic. It has the following structural formula:

The following structural formula for Acetaminophen, 4’-hydroxyacetanilide, a slightly bitter, white, odorless, crystalline powder, is a non-opiate, non-salicylate analgesic and antipyretic.

C8 H9 NO2 M.W. = 151.16

Each NORCO Tablet, 5 mg/325 mg contains:

Hydrocodone Bitartrate ……..5 mg

Acetaminophen ………………..325 mg

Each NORCO Tablet, 7.5 mg/325 mg contains:
Hydrocodone Bitartrate ……..7.5 mg

Acetaminophen ………………..325 mg

Each NORCO Tablet, 10 mg/325 mg contains:
Hydrocodone Bitartrate ……..10 mg

Acetaminophen ………………..325 mg

In addition, each tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, and microcrystalline cellulose.

Meets USP Dissolution Test 1.

CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

Mechanism of Action

Hydrocodone is full opioid agonist with relative selectivity for the mu-opioid (μ) receptor, although it can interact with other opioid receptors at higher doses. The principal therapeutic action of hydrocodone is analgesia. Like all full opioid agonists, there is no ceiling effect for analgesia with hydrocodone. Clinically, dosage is titrated to provide adequate analgesia and may be limited by adverse reactions, including respiratory and CNS depression.

The precise mechanism of the analgesic action is unknown. However, specific CNS opioid receptors for endogenous compounds with opioid-like activity have been identified throughout the brain and spinal cord and are thought to play a role in the analgesic effects of this drug.

The precise mechanism of the analgesic properties of acetaminophen is not established but is thought to involve central actions.

Pharmacodynamics

Effects on the Central Nervous System
The principal therapeutic action of hydrocodone is analgesia. Hydrocodone produces respiratory depression by direct action on brain stem respiratory centers. The respiratory depression involves a reduction in the responsiveness of the brain stem respiratory centers to both increases in carbon dioxide tension and electrical stimulation.

Hydrocodone causes miosis, even in total darkness. Pinpoint pupils are a sign of opioid overdose but are not pathognomonic (e.g., pontine lesions of hemorrhagic or ischemic origins may produce similar findings). Marked mydriasis rather than miosis may be seen due to hypoxia in overdose situations.

Therapeutic doses of acetaminophen have negligible effects on the cardiovascular or respiratory systems; however, toxic doses may cause circulatory failure and rapid, shallow breathing.

Effects on the Gastrointestinal Tract and Other Smooth Muscle
Hydrocodone causes a reduction in motility associated with an increase in smooth muscle tone in the antrum of the stomach and duodenum. Digestion of food in the small intestine is delayed and propulsive contractions are decreased. Propulsive peristaltic waves in the colon are decreased, while tone may be increased to the point of spasm, resulting in constipation. Other opioid-induced effects may include a reduction in biliary and pancreatic secretions, spasm of sphincter of Oddi, and transient elevations in serum amylase.

Effects on the Cardiovascular System
Hydrocodone produces peripheral vasodilation which may result in orthostatic hypotension or syncope. Manifestations of histamine release and/or peripheral vasodilation may include pruritus, flushing, red eyes, sweating, and/or orthostatic hypotension.

Effects on the Endocrine System
Opioids inhibit the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), cortisol, and luteinizing hormone (LH) in humans [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. They also stimulate prolactin, growth hormone (GH) secretion, and pancreatic secretion of insulin and glucagon.

Chronic use of opioids may influence the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, leading to androgen deficiency that may manifest as symptoms as low libido, impotence, erectile dysfunction, amenorrhea, or infertility. The causal role of opioids in the syndrome of hypogonadism is unknown because the various medical, physical, lifestyle, and psychological stressors that may influence gonadal hormone levels have not been adequately controlled for in studies conducted to date [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].

Effects on the Immune System
Opioids have been shown to have a variety of effects on components of the immune system. The clinical significance of these findings is unknown. Overall, the effects of opioids appear to be modestly immunosuppressive.

Concentration–Efficacy Relationships
The minimum effective analgesic concentration will vary widely among patients, especially among patients who have been previously treated with potent agonist opioids. The minimum effective analgesic concentration of hydrocodone for any individual patient may increase over time due to an increase in pain, the development of a new pain syndrome, and/or the development of analgesic tolerance [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

Concentration–Adverse Reaction Relationships
There is a relationship between increasing hydrocodone plasma concentration and increasing frequency of dose- related opioid adverse reactions such as nausea, vomiting, CNS effects, and respiratory depression. In opioid- tolerant patients, the situation may be altered by the development of tolerance to opioid-related adverse reactions [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

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