OxyContin tablets should be taken at 12-hourly intervals. The dosage is dependent on the severity of the pain, and the patient’s previous history of analgesic requirements.
OxyContin is not intended for use as a prn analgesic.
Increasing severity of pain will require an increased dosage of OxyContin tablets, using the 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg or 80 mg tablet strengths, either alone or in combination, to achieve pain relief. The correct dosage for any individual patient is that which controls the pain and is well tolerated for a full 12 hours. Patients should be titrated to pain relief unless unmanageable adverse drug reactions prevent this. If higher doses are necessary, increases should be made in 25% – 50% increments. The need to escape medication more than twice a day indicates that the dosage of OxyContin tablets should be increased.
The usual starting dose for opioid naïve patients or patients presenting with severe pain uncontrolled by weaker opioids is 10 mg, 12-hourly. Some patients may benefit from a starting dose of 5 mg to minimize the incidence of side effects. The dose should then be carefully titrated, as frequently as once a day if necessary, to achieve pain relief. For the majority of patients, the maximum dose is 200 mg 12-hourly. However, a few patients may require higher doses. Doses in excess of 1000 mg daily have been recorded.
Conversion from oral morphine:
Patients receiving oral morphine before OxyContin therapy should have their daily dose based on the following ratio: 10 mg of oral oxycodone is equivalent to 20 mg of oral morphine. It must be emphasised that this is a guide to the dose of OxyContin tablets required. Inter-patient variability requires that each patient is carefully titrated to the appropriate dose.
A dose adjustment is not usually necessary in elderly patients.
Controlled pharmacokinetic studies in elderly patients (aged over 65 years) have shown that, compared with younger adults, the clearance of oxycodone is only slightly reduced. No untoward adverse drug reactions were seen based on age, therefore adult doses and dosage intervals are appropriate.
OxyContin should not be used in patients under 18 years of age.
Patients with renal or hepatic impairment:
The plasma concentration in this population may be increased. The dose initiation should follow a conservative approach in these patients. The recommended adult starting dose should be reduced by 50% (for example a total daily dose of 10 mg orally in opioid naïve patients), and each patient should be titrated to adequate pain control according to their clinical situation.
Use in non-malignant pain:
Opioids are not first-line therapy for chronic non-malignant pain, nor are they recommended as the only treatment. Types of chronic pain which have been shown to be alleviated by strong opioids include chronic osteoarthritic pain and intervertebral disc disease. The need for continued treatment in non-malignant pain should be assessed at regular intervals.
Method of administration
OxyContin tablets are for oral use.
OxyContin tablets must be swallowed whole and not broken, chewed or crushed.
Duration of treatment
Oxycodone should not be used for longer than necessary.
Discontinuation of treatment
When a patient no longer requires therapy with oxycodone, it may be advisable to taper the dose gradually to prevent symptoms of withdrawal.
Hypersensitivity to oxycodone or to any of the excipients listed in section 6.1. Oxycodone must not be used in any situation where opioids are contraindicated: severe respiratory depression with hypoxia, paralytic ileus, acute abdomen, delayed gastric emptying, severe chronic obstructive lung disease, cor pulmonale, severe bronchial asthma, elevated carbon dioxide levels in the blood, moderate to severe hepatic impairment, chronic constipation.
Patients with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, the Lapp lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption should not take this medicine.
The major risk of opioid excess is respiratory depression. Caution must be exercised when administering oxycodone to the debilitated elderly; patients with severely impaired pulmonary function, patients with impaired hepatic or renal function; patients with myxedema, hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease, toxic psychosis, prostate hypertrophy, adrenocortical insufficiency, alcoholism, delirium tremens, diseases of the biliary tract, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disorders, hypotension, hypovolaemia, raised intracranial pressure, head injury (due to risk of increased intracranial pressure) or patients taking benzodiazepines, other CNS depressants (including alcohol) or MAO inhibitors.
Concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids may result in sedation, respiratory depression, coma and death. Because of these risks, concomitant prescribing of sedative medicines such as benzodiazepines or related drugs with opioids should be reserved for patients for whom alternative treatment options are not possible.
If a decision is made to prescribe benzodiazepines concomitantly with opioids, the lowest effective dose should be used, and the duration of treatment should be as short as possible (see also general dose recommendation in section 4.2).
The patients should be followed closely for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation. In this respect, it is strongly recommended to inform patients and their environment to be aware of these symptoms (see section 4.5).
OxyContin tablets should not be used where there is a possibility of paralytic ileus occurring. Should paralytic ileus be suspected or occur during use, OxyContin tablets should be discontinued immediately.
OxyContin tablets are not recommended for pre-operative use or within the first 12-24 hours postoperatively.
As with all opioid preparations, oxycodone products should be used with caution following abdominal surgery as opioids are known to impair intestinal motility and should not be used until the physician is assured of normal bowel function.
Patients about to undergo additional pain relieving procedures (e.g. surgery, plexus blockade) should not receive OxyContin tablets for 12 hours prior to the intervention. If further treatment with OxyContin tablets is indicated then the dosage should be adjusted to the new post-operative requirement.
OxyContin 60 mg tablets should not be used in patients not previously exposed to opioids. These tablet strengths may cause fatal respiratory depression when administered to opioid naïve patients.
OxyContin 80 mg may cause fatal respiratory depression when administered to opioid naïve patients.
OxyContin 120 mg tablets should not be used in patients not previously exposed to opioids. This tablet strength may cause fatal respiratory depression when administered to opioid naïve patients.
For appropriate patients who suffer with chronic non-malignant pain, opioids should be used as part of a comprehensive treatment programme involving other medications and treatment modalities. A crucial part of the assessment of a patient with chronic non-malignant pain is the patient’s addiction and substance abuse history.
If opioid treatment is considered appropriate for the patient, then the main aim of treatment is not to minimise the dose of opioid but rather to achieve a dose, which provides adequate pain relief with a minimum of side effects. There must be frequent contact between physician and patient so that dosage adjustments can be made. It is strongly recommended that the physician defines treatment outcomes in accordance with pain management guidelines. The physician and patient can then agree to discontinue treatment if these objectives are not met.
The patient may develop tolerance to the drug with chronic use and require progressively higher doses to maintain pain control. Prolonged use of this product may lead to physical dependence and a withdrawal syndrome may occur upon abrupt cessation of therapy. When a patient no longer requires therapy with oxycodone, it may be advisable to taper the dose gradually to prevent symptoms of withdrawal. The opioid abstinence or withdrawal syndrome is characterised by some or all of the following: restlessness, lacrimation, rhinorrhoea, yawning, perspiration, chills, myalgia, mydriasis and palpitations. Other symptoms also may develop, including: irritability, anxiety, backache, joint pain, weakness, abdominal cramps, insomnia, nausea, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhoea, or increased blood pressure, respiratory rate or heart rate.
Hyperalgesia that will not respond to a further dose increase of oxycodone may occur, particularly in high doses. An oxycodone dose reduction or change to an alternative opioid may be required.
Oxycodone has an abuse profile similar to other strong opioids. Oxycodone may be sought and abused by people with latent or manifest addiction disorders. There is potential for the development of psychological dependence [addiction] to opioid analgesics, including oxycodone. OxyContin should be used with particular care in patients with a history of alcohol and drug abuse.
As with other opioids, infants who are born to dependent mothers may exhibit withdrawal symptoms and may have respiratory depression at birth.
OxyContin tablets must be swallowed whole, and not broken, chewed or crushed. The administration of broken, chewed, or crushed OxyContin tablets leads to a rapid release and absorption of a potentially fatal dose of oxycodone (see Section 4.9).
Concomitant use of alcohol and OxyContin may increase the undesirable effects of OxyContin; concomitant use should be avoided.
Abuse of oral dosage forms by parenteral administration can be expected to result in serious adverse events, such as local tissue necrosis, infection, pulmonary granulomas, increased risk of endocarditis, and valvular heart injury, which may be fatal.
Empty matrix (tablets) may be seen in the stools.
Opioids may influence the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal or – gonadal axes. Some changes that can be seen include an increase in serum prolactin, and decreases in plasma cortisol and testosterone. Clinical symptoms may manifest from these hormonal changes.
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