TARGINIQ ER (Page 9 of 11)

9.3 Dependence

Both tolerance and physical dependence can develop during chronic opioid therapy. 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). Tolerance may occur to both the desired and undesired effects of drugs, and may develop at different rates for different effects.

Physical dependence results in withdrawal symptoms after abrupt discontinuation or a significant dosage reduction of a drug. Withdrawal also may be precipitated through the administration of drugs with opioid antagonist activity (e.g., naloxone, nalmefene), mixed agonist/antagonist analgesics (e.g., pentazocine, butorphanol, nalbuphine), or partial agonists (e.g., buprenorphine). Physical dependence may not occur to a clinically significant degree until after several days to weeks of continued opioid usage.

TARGINIQ ER should not be abruptly discontinued [see Dosage and Administration (2.7)]. If TARGINIQ ER is abruptly discontinued in a physically dependent patient, a withdrawal syndrome may occur. Some or all of the following can characterize this syndrome: restlessness, lacrimation, rhinorrhea, yawning, perspiration, chills, myalgia, and mydriasis. Other signs and 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.

Infants born to mothers physically dependent on opioids will also be physically dependent and may exhibit respiratory difficulties and withdrawal signs [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1)].


Clinical Presentation

Acute overdose with TARGINIQ ER can be manifested by respiratory depression, somnolence progressing to stupor or coma, skeletal muscle flaccidity, cold and clammy skin, constricted pupils, and, in some cases, pulmonary edema, bradycardia, hypotension, partial or complete airway obstruction, atypical snoring, and death. Marked mydriasis rather than miosis may be seen with hypoxia in overdose situations.

Treatment of Overdose

In case of overdose, priorities are the reestablishment of a patent and protected airway and institution of assisted or controlled ventilation, if needed. Employ other supportive measures (including oxygen, vasopressors) in the management of circulatory shock and pulmonary edema as indicated. Cardiac arrest or arrhythmias will require advanced life support techniques.

The opioid antagonists, naloxone or nalmefene, are specific antidotes to respiratory depression resulting from opioid overdose. For clinically significant respiratory or circulatory depression secondary to oxycodone overdose, administer an opioid antagonist. Although TARGINIQ ER contains naloxone, in overdose situations, administration of naloxone should be repeated as clinically necessary. Higher than normal doses and repeated administration may be necessary. Opioid antagonists should not be administered in the absence of clinically significant respiratory or circulatory depression secondary to oxycodone overdose.

Because the duration of reversal is expected to be less than the duration of action of oxycodone in TARGINIQ ER, carefully monitor the patient until spontaneous respiration is reliably reestablished. TARGINIQ ER will continue to release oxycodone and add to the oxycodone load for 24 to 48 hours or longer following ingestion, necessitating prolonged monitoring. If the response to an opioid antagonist is suboptimal or only brief in nature, administer additional antagonist as directed by the product’s prescribing information.

In an individual physically dependent on opioids, administration of the recommended usual dosage of the antagonist will precipitate an acute withdrawal syndrome. The severity of the withdrawal symptoms experienced will depend on the degree of physical dependence and the dose of the antagonist administered. If a decision is made to treat serious respiratory depression in the physically dependent patient, administration of the antagonist should be initiated with care and by titration with smaller than usual doses of the antagonist.


TARGINIQ ER (oxycodone hydrochloride and naloxone hydrochloride extended-release tablets) is a combination product containing an opioid agonist, oxycodone, and an opioid antagonist, naloxone. TARGINIQ ER is supplied as 10 mg/5 mg, 20 mg/10 mg, and 40 mg/20 mg tablets for oral administration. The tablet strengths, a 2:1 ratio in each, describe the amount of oxycodone and naloxone per tablet as the hydrochloride salts, respectively. The structural formula for oxycodone hydrochloride is as follows:

(click image for full-size original)

The chemical name is 4, 5α-epoxy-14-hydroxy-3-methoxy-17-methylmorphinan-6-one hydrochloride.

Oxycodone is a white, odorless crystalline powder derived from the opium alkaloid, thebaine. Oxycodone hydrochloride dissolves in water (1 g in 6 to 7 mL). It is slightly soluble in alcohol (octanol water partition coefficient 0.7).

The structural formula for naloxone hydrochloride is as follows:

(click image for full-size original)

The chemical name is (-)-17-Allyl-4,5α -epoxy-3,14-dihydroxy-morphinan-6-one hydrochloride.

Naloxone hydrochloride occurs as a white to slightly off-white powder, and is soluble in water, in dilute acids, and in strong alkali; slightly soluble in alcohol; practically insoluble in ether and in chloroform.

The 10 mg/5 mg, 20 mg/10 mg and 40 mg/20 mg extended-release tablets contain the following inactive ingredients: lactose monohydrate, stearyl alcohol, ethyl cellulose, povidone, talc, magnesium stearate, polyvinyl alcohol partially hydrolyzed, titanium dioxide, and Macrogol. The 20 mg/10 mg extended-release tablets also contain: Iron oxide red. The 40 mg/20 mg extended-release tablets also contain: Iron oxide yellow.

The film-coated extended-release tablets are color coded to distinguish different strengths as follows:
The 10 mg/5 mg extended-release tablets are white.
The 20 mg/10 mg extended-release tablets are pink.
The 40 mg/20 mg extended-release tablets are yellow.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

Oxycodone hydrochloride is a full opioid agonist and is relatively selective for the mu receptor, although it can bind to other opioid receptors at higher doses. The principal therapeutic action of oxycodone is analgesia. Like all full opioid agonists, there is no ceiling effect to analgesia for oxycodone. 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.

Naloxone is an antagonist acting on mu, kappa, and delta opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral organs (e.g, intestine, heart, kidney, and lungs). Naloxone antagonizes opioid effects by competing for the mu, kappa, and delta opioid receptor sites with the greatest affinity for the mu receptor. Naloxone produces opioid withdrawal signs and symptoms in individuals physically dependent on opioid agonists when administered parenterally.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

Effects on the Central Nervous System

Oxycodone 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 CO2 tension and electrical stimulation.

Oxycodone 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 origin may produce similar findings). Marked mydriasis rather than miosis may be seen with hypoxia in overdose situations [see Overdosage (10)].

Naloxone prevents or reverses the effects of opioids, including respiratory depression and sedation, when administered intravenously [see Overdosage (10)]. When naloxone is administered orally, at the same doses as in TARGINIQ ER, these effects would not be expected due to low circulating plasma concentrations.

Effects on the Gastrointestinal Tract and Other Smooth Muscle

Oxycodone 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

Oxycodone 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 (6.2)]. 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 (6.2)].

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 –Efficacy Relationships

Studies with oxycodone in normal volunteers and patients reveal predictable relationships between oxycodone dosage and plasma oxycodone concentrations, as well as between concentration and certain expected opioid effects, such as pupillary constriction, sedation, overall subjective “drug effect”, and analgesia.

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 oxycodone 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 (2.1, 2.3)].

Concentration –Adverse Reaction Relationships

There is a relationship between increasing oxycodone 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 (2.1, 2.2, 2.3)].

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