Hydrocodone Polistirex and Chlorpheniramine Polistirex Extended-release (Page 8 of 11)


12.1 Mechanism of Action


Hydrocodone is an opioid agonist with relative selectivity for the mu-opioid receptor, although it can interact with other opioid receptors at higher doses. The precise mechanism of action of hydrocodone and other opiates is not known; however, hydrocodone is believed to act centrally on the cough center. In excessive doses, hydrocodone will depress respiration.


Chlorpheniramine is a propylamine derivative antihistamine (H1 -receptor antagonist) of the alkylamine class that also possesses anticholinergic and sedative activity. It prevents released histamine from dilating capillaries and causing edema of the respiratory mucosa.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics


Effects on the Central Nervous System

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 to 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.

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 and 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 (6)]. 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 low libido, impotence, erectile dysfunction, amenorrhea, or infertility. The causal role of opioids in the clinical 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 (6)].

Effects on the Immune System

Opioids have been shown to have a variety of effects on components of the immune system in in vitro and animal models. The clinical significance of these findings is unknown. Overall, the effects of opioids appear to be modestly immunosuppressive.

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.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics


Following multiple dosing with Hydrocodone Polistirex and Chlorpheniramine Polistirex, hydrocodone mean (S.D.) peak plasma concentrations of 22.8 (5.9) ng/mL occurred at 3.4 hours. Food has no significant effect on the extent of absorption of hydrocodone.

Chlorpheniramine mean (S.D.) peak plasma concentrations of 58.4 (14.7) ng/mL occurred at 6.3 hours following multiple dosing.


Although the extent of protein binding of hydrocodone in human plasma has not been definitively determined, structural similarities to related opioid analgesics suggest that hydrocodone is not extensively protein bound. As most agents in the 5-ring morphinan group of semi-synthetic opioids bind plasma protein to a similar degree (range 19% [hydromorphone] to 45% [oxycodone]), hydrocodone is expected to fall within this range.

Chlorpheniramine is widely distributed throughout the tissues of the body, including the central nervous system. It reportedly has an apparent steady-state volume of distribution of approximately 3.2 L/kg in adults and children and is about 70% bound to plasma proteins. Chlorpheniramine and its metabolites likely cross the placental barrier and are excreted into human breast milk.



Hydrocodone exhibits a complex pattern of metabolism, including N-demethylation, O-demethylation, and 6keto reduction to the corresponding 6-α-and 6-β-hydroxy metabolites. CYP3A4 mediated N-demethylation to norhydrocodone is the primary metabolic pathway of hydrocodone with a lower contribution from CYP2D6 mediated O-demethylation to hydromorphone. Hydromorphone is formed from the O-demethylation of hydrocodone and may contribute to the total analgesic effect of hydrocodone. Therefore, the formation of these and related metabolites can, in theory, be affected by other drugs [see Drug Interactions (7)]. Published in vitro studies have shown that N-demethylation of hydrocodone to form norhydrocodone can be attributed to CYP3A4 while O-demethylation of hydrocodone to hydromorphone is predominantly catalyzed by CYP2D6 and to a lesser extent by an unknown low affinity CYP enzyme.

Chlorpheniramine is rapidly and extensively metabolized via demethylation in the liver, forming mono-and didesmethyl derivatives. Oxidative metabolism of chlorpheniramine is catalyzed by cytochrome P-450 2D6.


Hydrocodone and its metabolites are eliminated primarily in the kidneys. The mean plasma half-life of hydrocodone is approximately 4 hours.

Chlorpheniramine and its metabolites are primarily excreted through the kidneys, with large individual variation. Urinary excretion depends on urine pH and flow rate. The mean plasma half-life of chlorpheniramine is approximately 21 to 24 hours.


13.1 Carcinogenesis and Mutagenesis and Impairment of Fertility

Carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, and fertility studies have not been conducted with Hydrocodone Polistirex and Chlorpheniramine Polistirex; however, published information is available for the individual active ingredients or related active ingredients.


Carcinogenicity studies were conducted with codeine, an opiate related to hydrocodone. Two-year studies in F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice were conducted to assess the carcinogenic potential of codeine. No evidence of tumorigenicity was observed in male and female rats at codeine dietary doses up to 70 and 80 mg/kg/day (approximately equivalent to 55 and 65 times the MRHD of hydrocodone on a mg/m2 basis, respectively). No evidence of tumorigenicity was observed in male and female mice at codeine dietary doses up to 400 mg/kg/day (approximately equivalent to 160 times the MRHD of hydrocodone on a mg/m2 basis). Mutagenicity studies with hydrocodone have not been conducted. Fertility studies with hydrocodone have not been conducted.


Carcinogenicity studies were conducted with chlorpheniramine maleate. Two-year studies in F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice were conducted to assess the carcinogenic potential of chlorpheniramine. No evidence of tumorigenicity was observed in male and female rats at chlorpheniramine oral doses up to 30 and 60 mg/kg/day for 5 days/week (approximately equivalent to 25 and 50 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis, respectively). No evidence of tumorigenicity was observed in male and female mice at chlorpheniramine oral doses up to 50 and 200 mg/kg/day for 5 days/week (approximately equivalent to 20 and 85 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis, respectively).

Chlorpheniramine maleate was not mutagenic in the in vitro bacterial reverse mutation assay or the in vitro mouse lymphoma forward mutation assay. Chlorpheniramine maleate was clastogenic in the in vitro Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell chromosomal aberration assay.

Chlorpheniramine maleate had no effects on fertility in rats and rabbits at oral doses approximately 35 and 45 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis, respectively.

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