Pharmacokinetic evaluation of hydrocodone/acetaminophen for pain management

Department of Anesthesiology, University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky.
Journal of opioid management 05/2013; 9(1):71-80. DOI: 10.5055/jom.2013.0149
Source: PubMed


Hydrocodone/acetaminophen is not only the most commonly prescribed opioid in the United States but also the most common prescription medication written in America. Although original and early trials confirmed its ability to manage acute pain from surgery and musculoskeletal injury, it is perhaps more widely used today in the management of chronic pain. However, the opioid product was introduced for the management of moderate to moderately severe pain. Because it has been greatly abused as a prescription opioid medication, physicians need to be aware of the current knowledge regarding this analgesic drug. This review summarizes the current knowledge of the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and metabolism of hydrocodone. Recent information regarding the possibility of hydrocodone as a prodrug for hydromorphone is discussed. The available clinical trials for the use of hydrocodone in the management of acute, chronic, and cancer pain are presented.

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    ABSTRACT: Many patients with chronic pain receive substandard analgesic therapy. Incomplete or inadequate care often stems from physician fears of patient addiction and/or drug toxicity. As a result, many chronic pain patients are undertreated and have unrelieved pain that tempts them to overuse or to abuse prescribed pharmacologic treatments. In the last few years, educational efforts have targeted physicians who treat chronic, nonmalignant pain with information to improve prescribing strategies and to appreciate side effects. Additionally, opioid prescribing guidelines and educational programs, including World Health Organization-published guidelines for the management of cancer pain in 1986 and the American Pain Society's promotion of pain as the 5(th) vital sign, have increased the propensity of pharmacists, physicians, and pain specialists to dispense pain treatments. Controversial and evolving consequences from this explosion of prescription opioid use have emerged and are discussed in this review, including prescribing principles, opioid analgesic side effects, and driving concerns. With additional appreciation for the untoward effects of chronic analgesia and a better understanding of opioid pharmacology, physicians can utilize pain management treatments in a safer and more effective manner.
    Ochsner Journal 12/2013; 13(4):525-532.
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    ABSTRACT: Vicodin, the combination drug of acetaminophen and the opioid hydrocodone, is one of the most prescribed drugs on the market today. Opioids have demonstrated the ability to paradoxically cause increased pain sensitivity to users in a phenomena called opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH). While selected opioids have been shown to produce OIH symptoms in an animal model, hydrocodone and the combination drug Vicodin have yet to be studied. The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of exposure to chronic high dose Vicodin or its components on the sensitivity to both thermal and mechanical pain. Animals were randomly divided into 4 groups, VicodinĀ®, acetaminophen, hydrocodone, or vehicle control, and administered the drug daily for 120 days. Rats were subsequently tested for thermal and mechanical sensitivity. The rats in the Vicodin group displayed a significant decrease in withdrawal time to thermal pain. The rats receiving acetaminophen, hydrocodone, and vehicle showed no statistically significant hypersensitivity in thermal testing. None of the groups demonstrated statistically significant hypersensitivity to mechanical testing. The data suggests Vicodin produces signs of OIH in a rodent model. However, increased pain sensitivity was only noted in the thermal pathway and the hypersensitivity was only seen with the opioid combination drug, not the opioid alone. The results of this study both support the results of previous rodent opioid studies while generating further questions about the specific properties of Vicodin that contribute to pain hypersensitivity. The growing use of Vicodin to treat chronic pain necessitates further research looking into this paradoxical pain response.
    Pain physician 07/2014; 17(4):353-357. · 3.54 Impact Factor
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    American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy 09/2014; 71(18):1539-1554. DOI:10.2146/ajhp140157 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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