Prescription Drug Information: Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release (Page 3 of 7)

Respiratory Depression

Respiratory depression is the chief hazard from oxycodone, the active ingredient in Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets, as with all opioid agonists. Respiratory depression is a particular problem in elderly or debilitated patients, usually following large initial doses in non-tolerant patients, or when opioids are given in conjunction with other agents that depress respiration.

Oxycodone should be used with extreme caution in patients with significant chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cor pulmonale, and in patients having a substantially decreased respiratory reserve, hypoxia, hypercapnia, or pre-existing respiratory depression. In such patients, even usual therapeutic doses of oxycodone may decrease respiratory drive to the point of apnea. In these patients alternative non-opioid analgesics should be considered, and opioids should be employed only under careful medical supervision at the lowest effective dose.

Head Injury

The respiratory depressant effects of opioids include carbon dioxide retention and secondary elevation of cerebrospinal fluid pressure, and may be markedly exaggerated in the presence of head injury, intracranial lesions, or other sources of pre-existing increased intracranial pressure. Oxycodone produces effects on pupillary response and consciousness which may obscure neurologic signs of further increases in intracranial pressure in patients with head injuries.

Hypotensive Effect

Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets may cause severe hypotension. There is an added risk to individuals whose ability to maintain blood pressure has been compromised by a depleted blood volume, or after concurrent administration with drugs such as phenothiazines or other agents which compromise vasomotor tone. Oxycodone may produce orthostatic hypotension in ambulatory patients. Oxycodone, like all opioid analgesics of the morphine-type, should be administered with caution to patients in circulatory shock, since vasodilation produced by the drug may further reduce cardiac output and blood pressure.



Opioid analgesics have a narrow therapeutic index in certain patient populations, especially when combined with CNS depressant drugs, and should be reserved for cases where the benefits of opioid analgesia outweigh the known risks of respiratory depression, altered mental state, and postural hypotension.

Use of Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets is associated with increased potential risks and should be used only with caution in the following conditions: acute alcoholism; adrenocortical insufficiency (e.g., Addison’s disease); CNS depression or coma; delirium tremens; debilitated patients; kyphoscoliosis associated with respiratory depression; myxedema or hypothyroidism; prostatic hypertrophy or urethral stricture; severe impairment of hepatic, pulmonary or renal function; and toxic psychosis.

The administration of oxycodone may obscure the diagnosis or clinical course in patients with acute abdominal conditions. Oxycodone may aggravate convulsions in patients with convulsive disorders, and all opioids may induce or aggravate seizures in some clinical settings.

Interactions with other CNS Depressants

Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets should be used with caution and started in a reduced dosage (1/3 to 1/2 of the usual dosage) in patients who are concurrently receiving other central nervous system depressants including sedatives or hypnotics, general anesthetics, phenothiazines, other tranquilizers, and alcohol. Interactive effects resulting in respiratory depression, hypotension, profound sedation, or coma may result if these drugs are taken in combination with the usual doses of Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets.

Interactions with Mixed Agonist/Antagonist Opioid Analgesics

Agonist/antagonist analgesics (i.e., pentazocine, nalbuphine, and butorphanol) should be administered with caution to a patient who has received or is receiving a course of therapy with a pure opioid agonist analgesic such as oxycodone. In this situation, mixed agonist/antagonist analgesics may reduce the analgesic effect of oxycodone and/or may precipitate withdrawal symptoms in these patients.

Ambulatory Surgery and Postoperative Use

Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets are not indicated for pre-emptive analgesia (administration pre-operatively for the management of postoperative pain).

Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets are not indicated for pain in the immediate postoperative period (the first 12 to 24 hours following surgery) for patients not previously taking the drug, because its safety in this setting has not been established.

Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets are not indicated for pain in the postoperative period if the pain is mild or not expected to persist for an extended period of time.

Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets are only indicated for postoperative use if the patient is already receiving the drug prior to surgery or if the postoperative pain is expected to be moderate to severe and persist for an extended period of time. Physicians should individualize treatment, moving from parenteral to oral analgesics as appropriate (See American Pain Society guidelines).

Patients who are already receiving Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets as part of ongoing analgesic therapy may be safely continued on the drug if appropriate dosage adjustments are made considering the procedure, other drugs given, and the temporary changes in physiology caused by the surgical intervention (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets and other morphine-like opioids have been shown to decrease bowel motility. Ileus is a common postoperative complication, especially after intra-abdominal surgery with opioid analgesia. Caution should be taken to monitor for decreased bowel motility in postoperative patients receiving opioids. Standard supportive therapy should be implemented.

Use in Pancreatic/Biliary Tract Disease

Oxycodone may cause spasm of the sphincter of Oddi and should be used with caution in patients with biliary tract disease, including acute pancreatitis. Opioids like oxycodone may cause increases in the serum amylase level.

Tolerance and Physical Dependence

Tolerance is the need for increasing doses of opioids to maintain a defined effect such as analgesia (in the absence of disease progression or other external factors). Physical dependence is manifested by withdrawal symptoms after abrupt discontinuation of a drug or upon administration of an antagonist. Physical dependence and tolerance are not unusual during chronic opioid therapy.

The opioid abstinence or withdrawal syndrome is characterized by some or all of the following: restlessness, lacrimation, rhinorrhea, yawning, perspiration, chills, myalgia, and mydriasis. Other symptoms also may develop, including: irritability, anxiety, backache, joint pain, weakness, abdominal cramps, insomnia, nausea, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, or increased blood pressure, respiratory rate, or heart rate.

In general, opioids should not be abruptly discontinued (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION: Cessation of Therapy).

Information for Patients/Caregivers

If clinically advisable, patients receiving Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets or their caregivers should be given the following information by the physician, nurse, pharmacist, or caregiver:

  1. Patients should be aware that Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets contain oxycodone, which is a morphine-like substance.
  2. Patients should be advised that Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets were designed to work properly only if swallowed whole. Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets will release all their contents at once if broken, chewed, or crushed, resulting in a risk of fatal overdose.
  3. Patients should be advised to report episodes of breakthrough pain and adverse experiences occurring during therapy. Individualization of dosage is essential to make optimal use of this medication.
  4. Patients should be advised not to adjust the dose of Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets without consulting the prescribing professional.
  5. Patients should be advised that Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets may impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g., driving, operating heavy machinery).
  6. Patients should not combine Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants (sleep aids, tranquilizers) except by the orders of the prescribing physician, because dangerous additive effects may occur, resulting in serious injury or death.
  7. Women of childbearing potential who become, or are planning to become, pregnant should be advised to consult their physician regarding the effects of analgesics and other drug use during pregnancy on themselves and their unborn child.
  8. Patients should be advised that Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets are a potential drug of abuse. They should protect it from theft, and it should never be given to anyone other than the individual for whom it was prescribed.
  9. Patients should be advised that they may pass empty matrix “ghosts” (tablets) via colostomy or in the stool, and that this is of no concern since the active medication has already been absorbed.
  10. Patients should be advised that if they have been receiving treatment with Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets for more than a few weeks and cessation of therapy is indicated, it may be appropriate to taper the Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets dose, rather than abruptly discontinue it, due to the risk of precipitating withdrawal symptoms. Their physician can provide a dose schedule to accomplish a gradual discontinuation of the medication.
  11. Patients should be instructed to keep Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets in a secure place out of the reach of children. When Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets are no longer needed, the unused tablets should be destroyed by flushing down the toilet.

Use in Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets are an opioid with no approved use in the management of addictive disorders. Its proper usage in individuals with drug or alcohol dependence, either active or in remission, is for the management of pain requiring opioid analgesia.

Drug-Drug Interactions

Opioid analgesics, including Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets, may enhance the neuromuscular blocking action of skeletal muscle relaxants and produce an increased degree of respiratory depression.

Inhibitors of CYP3A4:

Since the CYP3A4 isoenzyme plays a major role in the metabolism of oxycodone, co-administration of drugs that inhibit CYP3A4 activity, such as macrolide antibiotics (e.g., erythromycin), azole-antifungal agents (e.g., ketoconazole), and protease inhibitors (e.g., ritonavir), may cause decreased clearance of oxycodone which could lead to an increase in oxycodone plasma concentrations. Although clinical studies have not been conducted, the expected clinical results would be increased or prolonged opioid effects. If co-administration with Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets is necessary, caution is advised when initiating therapy with, currently taking, or discontinuing CYP450 inhibitors. These patients should be evaluated at frequent intervals and dose adjustments considered until stable drug effects are achieved.

Inducers of CYP3A4:

Although clinical studies have not been conducted, CYP450 inducers, such as rifampin, carbamazepine, and phenytoin, may induce the metabolism of oxycodone and, therefore, may cause increased clearance of the drug, which could lead to a decrease in oxycodone plasma concentrations, lack of efficacy, or, possibly, development of abstinence syndrome in a patient who had developed physical dependence to oxycodone. If co-administration with Oxycodone HCl Controlled-Release Tablets is necessary, caution is advised when initiating therapy with, currently taking, or discontinuing CYP450 inducers. These patients should be evaluated at frequent intervals and dose adjustments considered until stable drug effects are achieved.

Inhibitors of CYP2D6:

Oxycodone is metabolized in part to oxymorphone via cytochrome P450 2D6. While this pathway may be blocked by a variety of drugs (e.g., certain cardiovascular drugs including amiodarone and quinidine as well as polycyclic antidepressants), such blockade has not yet been shown to be of clinical significance with this agent. Clinicians should be aware of this possible interaction, however. provides trustworthy package insert and label information about marketed prescription drugs as submitted by manufacturers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Package information is not reviewed or updated separately by Every individual prescription drug label and package insert entry contains a unique identifier which can be used to secure further details directly from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and/or the FDA.

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