What to Expect From Zohydro® ER

  1. It can take a few days to feel pain control once you start Zohydro® ER.

  • If you do not feel an effect right away, it does not necessarily mean that the medication isn't working. It may take a few days for your body to adjust
  • Take your prescribed dose every 12 hours, at the same time every day. Do not take more than your prescribed dose in 12 hours. If you miss a dose, take your next dose at your usual time
  • Your doctor may prescribe a short-acting pain medicine to take if you experience breakthrough pain or while you are adjusting to Zohydro ER
  • Stop taking any other around-the-clock opioid drugs when you start taking Zohydro ER
  1. What if I experience side effects?

  • Sometimes side effects can go away once your body adjusts. But other times, your healthcare provider may need to change your dose. That is why it is important to tell your healthcare provider about any and all side effects you experience
  • Possible side effects of Zohydro ER are constipation, nausea, sleepiness, tiredness, headache, dizziness, dry mouth, vomiting, abdominal pain. Call your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms and they are severe
  • Never stop taking Zohydro ER without talking to your healthcare provider first. It can lead to withdrawal

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.
Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Side Effects

Everyone's body processes medication in a slightly different way, so it is important to talk to your doctor if you experience side effects. The most common side effects of Zohydro ER are:
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness/sleepiness
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

Like other opioid medications, Zohydro ER carries a risk of more severe side effects, though they happen very rarely. Tell your family or caregiver to watch for the following side effects and get emergency medical help if:

  • You have trouble breathing
  • You feel extremely drowsy and your breathing slows down
  • You have very little chest movement with each breath
  • You feel faint, dizzy, or lightheaded
  • You have swelling of face, tongue, or throat
  • You have any other unusual symptoms

These are not all the possible side effects of Zohydro® ER. For a complete list, ask your healthcare provider or read Section 6 of the full Prescribing Information.

Will side effects go away?

Sometimes side effects can go away once your body adjusts to the new medication. But other times, your healthcare provider may need to change your dose. That is why it is important to tell him or her about any and all side effects you experience. He or she can decide how best to move forward with treatment.

Should I stop taking Zohydro® ER because of side effects?

No, you should not stop taking Zohydro ER without talking to your healthcare provider first, as you may need to gradually reduce the amount of medication you are taking to avoid any other complications, including withdrawal symptoms.

Know the Difference: Drug Abuse, Physical Dependence, Tolerance, and Addiction

You may be anxious about taking opioid medications because you are nervous about becoming addicted or because you worry that others may think you abuse drugs. This fear may keep you from taking the medication the way you are supposed to, which may result in it being less effective than it should be. It is important to know that there is a difference between abuse, dependence, tolerance, and addiction.

  • Abuse is when someone uses a medication for a reason other than why it is prescribed
  • Physical dependence is when the body may start to rely on a medication after someone has used it for a period of time. They can have "withdrawal" symptoms if they quickly reduce the amount they are taking, or if they stop taking the medication altogether. Withdrawal can be dangerous if not managed properly
  • Tolerance describes when the body gets used to a medication over time. This is normal, but it means that the medication may not work as well after a while, and someone may be a candidate for a different medication or a way to treat their pain
  • Addiction is when someone feels an overwhelming urge to use a medication and cannot control how often or how much of it they use, even if it has a bad effect on their life or health
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ZOHYDRO® ER (hydrocodone bitartrate) extended-Release Capsules, for oral use, CII

Rx Only

Important Safety Information

Please see package insert for full Prescribing Information

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

WARNING: ADDICTION, ABUSE, AND MISUSE; LIFE-THREATENING RESPIRATORY DEPRESSION; ACCIDENTAL INGESTION; NEONATAL OPIOID WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME; CYTOCHROME P450 3A4 INTERACTION; RISKS FROM CONCOMITANT USE WITH BENZODIAZEPINES AND OTHER CNS DEPRESSANTS; and INTERACTION WITH ALCOHOL;

Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse
ZOHYDRO ER exposes patients and other users to the risks of opioid addiction, abuse, and misuse, which can lead to overdose and death. Assess each patient’s risk prior to prescribing ZOHYDRO ER and monitor all patients regularly for the development of these behaviors and conditions.

Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression
Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression may occur with use of ZOHYDRO ER. Monitor for respiratory depression, especially during initiation of ZOHYDRO ER or following a dose increase. Instruct patients to swallow ZOHYDRO ER capsules whole; crushing, chewing, or dissolving ZOHYDRO ER capsules can cause rapid release and absorption of a potentially fatal dose of hydrocodone.

Accidental Ingestion
Accidental ingestion of even one dose of ZOHYDRO ER, especially by children, can result in a fatal overdose of hydrocodone.

Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome
Prolonged use of ZOHYDRO ER during pregnancy can result in neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, which may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated, and requires management according to protocols developed by neonatology experts. If opioid use is required for a prolonged period in a pregnant woman, advise the patient of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available.

Cytochrome P450 3A4 Interaction
The concomitant use of ZOHYDRO ER with all cytochrome P450 3A4 inhibitors may result in an increase in hydrocodone plasma concentrations, which could increase or prolong adverse drug effects and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression. In addition, discontinuation of a concomitantly used cytochrome P450 3A4 inducer may result in an increase in hydrocodone plasma concentration. Monitor patients receiving ZOHYDRO ER and any CYP3A4 inhibitor or inducer.

Risks from Concomitant Use with Benzodiazepines or Other CNS Depressants
Concomitant use of opioids with benzodiazepines or other central nervous system (CNS) depressants, including alcohol, may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death.

  • Reserve concomitant prescribing of ZOHYDRO ER and benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate.
  • Limit dosages and durations to the minimum required.
  • Follow patients for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation.

Interaction with Alcohol
Instruct patients not to consume alcoholic beverages or use prescription or non-prescription products that contain alcohol while taking ZOHYDRO ER. The co-ingestion of alcohol with ZOHYDRO ER may result in increased plasma levels and a potentially fatal overdose of hydrocodone.

INDICATIONS AND USAGE

ZOHYDRO® ER (hydrocodone bitartrate) is indicated for the management of pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment and for which alternative treatment options are inadequate.

LIMITATIONS OF USE

CONTRAINDICATIONS

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse

ZOHYDRO ER contains hydrocodone, a Schedule II controlled substance. As an opioid, ZOHYDRO ER exposes users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse. Because extended-release products such as ZOHYDRO ER deliver the opioid over an extended period of time, there is a greater risk for overdose and death due to the larger amount of hydrocodone present.

Although the risk of addiction in any individual is unknown, it can occur in patients appropriately prescribed ZOHYDRO ER. Addiction can occur at recommended doses and if the drug is misused or abused.

Assess each patient’s risk for opioid addiction, abuse, or misuse prior to prescribing ZOHYDRO ER, and monitor all patients receiving ZOHYDRO ER for the development of these behaviors and conditions. Risks are increased in patients with a personal or family history of substance abuse (including drug or alcohol addiction or abuse) or mental illness (e.g., major depression). The potential for these risks should not, however, prevent the prescribing of ZOHYDRO ER for the proper management of pain in any given patient. Patients at increased risk may be prescribed opioids such as ZOHYDRO ER, but use in such patients necessitates intensive counseling about the risks and proper use of ZOHYDRO ER along with intensive monitoring for signs of addiction, abuse, and misuse.

Abuse or misuse of ZOHYDRO ER by crushing, chewing, snorting, or injecting the dissolved product will result in the uncontrolled delivery of the hydrocodone and can result in overdose and death.

Opioids are sought by drug abusers and people with addiction disorders and are subject to criminal diversion. Consider these risks when prescribing or dispensing ZOHYDRO ER. Strategies to reduce these risks include prescribing the drug in the smallest appropriate quantity and advising the patient on the proper disposal of unused drug. Contact local state professional licensing board or state controlled substances authority for information on how to prevent and detect abuse or diversion of this product.

Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression

Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression has been reported with the use of opioids, even when used as recommended. Respiratory depression, if not immediately recognized and treated, may lead to respiratory arrest and death. Management of respiratory depression may include close observation, supportive measures, and use of opioid antagonists, depending on the patient’s clinical status. Carbon dioxide (CO2) retention from opioid-induced respiratory depression can exacerbate the sedating effects of opioids.

While serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression can occur at any time during the use of ZOHYDRO ER, the risk is greatest during the initiation of therapy or following a dosage increase. Monitor patients closely for respiratory depression, especially within the first 24-72 hours of initiating therapy with and following dosage increases of ZOHYDRO ER.

To reduce the risk of respiratory depression, proper dosing and titration of ZOHYDRO ER are essential. Overestimating the ZOHYDRO ER dose when converting patients from another opioid product can result in fatal overdose with the first dose.

Accidental ingestion of even one dose of ZOHYDRO ER, especially by children, can result in respiratory depression and death due to an overdose of hydrocodone.

Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome

Prolonged use of ZOHYDRO ER during pregnancy can result in withdrawal in the neonate. Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, unlike opioid withdrawal syndrome in adults, may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated, and requires management according to protocols developed by neonatology experts. Observe newborns for signs of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and mange accordingly. Advise pregnant women using opioids for a prolonged period of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available.

Risks from Concomitant Use or Discontinuation of Cytochrome P450 3A4 Inhibitors and Inducers

Concomitant use of ZOHYDRO ER with a CYP3A4 inhibitor, such as macrolide antibiotics (e.g., erythromycin), azole-antifungal agents (e.g., ketoconazole), and protease inhibitors (e.g., ritonavir), may increase plasma concentrations of hydrocodone and prolong opioid adverse reactions, which may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression, particularly when an inhibitor is added after a stable dose of ZOHYDRO ER is achieved. Similarly, discontinuation of a CYP3A4 inducer, such as rifampin, carbamazepine, and phenytoin, in ZOHYDRO ER-treated patients may increase hydrocodone plasma concentrations and prolong opioid adverse reactions. When using ZOHYDRO ER with CYP3A4 inhibitors or discontinuing CYP3A4 inducers in ZOHYDRO ER-treated patients, monitor patients closely at frequent intervals and consider dosage reduction of ZOHYDRO ER until stable drug effects are achieved.

Concomitant use of ZOHYDRO ER with CYP3A4 inducers or discontinuation of an CYP3A4 inhibitor could decrease hydrocodone plasma concentrations, decrease opioid efficacy or, possibly, lead to a withdrawal syndrome in a patient who had developed physical dependence to hydrocodone. When using ZOHYDRO ER with CYP3A4 inducers or discontinuing CYP3A4 inhibitors, monitor patients closely at frequent intervals and consider increasing the opioid dosage if needed to maintain adequate analgesia or if symptoms of opioid withdrawal occur.

Risks from Concomitant Use with Benzodiazepines or Other CNS Depressants

Profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death may result from the concomitant use of ZOHYDRO ER with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants (e.g., non-benzodiazepine sedatives/hypnotics, anxiolytics, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, general anesthetics, antipsychotics, other opioids, alcohol). Because of these risks, reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate.

Observational studies have demonstrated that concomitant use of opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines increases the risk of drug-related mortality compared to use of opioid analgesics alone. Because of similar pharmacological properties, it is reasonable to expect similar risk with the concomitant use of other CNS depressant drugs with opioid analgesics.

If the decision is made to prescribe a benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant concomitantly with an opioid analgesic, prescribe the lowest effective dosages and minimum duration of concomitant use. In patients already receiving an opioid analgesic, prescribe a lower initial dose of the benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant than indicated in the absence of an opioid, and titrate based on clinical response. If an opioid analgesic is initiated in a patient already taking a benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant, prescribe a lower initial dose of the opioid analgesic, and titrate based on clinical response. Follow patients closely for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation.

Advise both patients and caregivers about the risks of respiratory depression and sedation when ZOHYDRO ER is used with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants (including alcohol and illicit drugs). Advise patients not to drive or operate heavy machinery until the effects of concomitant use of the benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant have been determined. Screen patients for risk of substance use disorders, including opioid abuse and misuse, and warn them of the risk of overdose and death associated with the use of additional CNS depressants including alcohol and illicit drugs.

Patients must not consume alcoholic beverages, or prescription or non-prescription products containing alcohol, while on ZOHYDRO ER therapy. The co-ingestion of alcohol with ZOHYDRO ER may result in increased plasma levels and a potentially fatal overdose of hydrocodone.

Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression in Patients with Chronic Pulmonary Disease or in Elderly, Cachectic, or Debilitated Patients

The use of ZOHYDRO ER in patients with acute or severe bronchial asthma in an unmonitored setting or in the absence of resuscitative equipment is contraindicated.

Patients with Chronic Pulmonary Disease: ZOHYDRO ER-treated patients with significant chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cor pulmonale, and those with a substantially decreased respiratory reserve, hypoxia, hypercapnia, or pre-existing respiratory depression are at increased risk of decreased respiratory drive including apnea, even at recommended dosages of ZOHYDRO ER.

Elderly, Cachectic, or Debilitated Patients: Life-threatening respiratory depression is more likely to occur in elderly, cachectic, or debilitated patients because they may have altered pharmacokinetics or altered clearance compared to younger, healthier patients.

Monitor such patients closely, particular when initiating and titrating ZOHYDRO ER and when ZOHYDRO ER is given concomitantly with other drugs that depress respiration. Alternatively, consider the use of non-opioid analgesics in these patients.

Adrenal Insufficiency

Cases of adrenal insufficiency have been reported with opioid use, more often following greater than one month of use. Presentation of adrenal insufficiency may include non-specific symptoms and signs including nausea, vomiting, anorexia, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and low blood pressure. If adrenal insufficiency is suspected, confirm diagnosis with diagnostic testing as soon as possible. If adrenal insufficiency is diagnosed, treat with physiologic replacement doses of corticosteroids. Wean the patient off of the opioid to allow adrenal function to recover and continue corticosteroid treatment until adrenal function recovers. Other opioids may be tried as some cases reported use of a different opioid without recurrence of adrenal insufficiency. The information available does not identify any particular opioid as being more likely to be associated with adrenal insufficiency.

Severe Hypotension

ZOHYDRO ER may cause severe hypotension including orthostatic hypotension and syncope in ambulatory patients. There is an added risk in patients whose ability to maintain blood pressure has already been compromised by a reduced blood volume, or after concurrent administration of certain CNS depressant drugs (e.g., phenothiazines or general anesthetics). Monitor these patients for signs of hypotension after initiating or titrating the dosage of ZOHYDRO ER. In patients with circulatory shock, ZOHYDRO ER may cause vasodilation that can further reduce cardiac output and blood pressure. Avoid the use of ZOHYDRO ER in patients with circulatory shock.

Risks of Use in Patients with Increased Intracranial Pressure, Brain Tumors, Head Injury, or Impaired Consciousness

In patients who may be susceptible to the intracranial effects of CO2 retention (e.g., those with evidence of increased intracranial pressure or brain tumors), ZOHYDRO ER may reduce respiratory drive, and the resultant CO2 retention can further increase intracranial pressure. Monitor such patients for signs of sedation and respiratory depression, particularly when initiating therapy with ZOHYDRO ER.

Opioids may also obscure the clinical course in a patient with a head injury. Avoid the use of ZOHYDRO ER in patients with impaired consciousness or coma.

Risks of Use in Patients with Gastrointestinal Conditions

ZOHYDRO ER is contraindicated in patients with known or suspected gastrointestinal obstruction, including paralytic ileus. Hydrocodone in ZOHYDRO ER may cause spasm of the sphincter of Oddi. Opioids may cause increases in serum amylase. Monitor patients with biliary tract disease, including acute pancreatitis, for worsening of symptoms.

Increased Risk of Seizures in Patients with Seizure Disorders

The hydrocodone in ZOHYDRO ER may increase the frequency of seizures in patients with seizure disorders, and may increase the risk occurring in other clinical settings associated with seizures. Monitor patients with a history of seizure disorders for worsened seizure control during ZOHYDRO ER therapy.

Withdrawal

Avoid the use of mixed agonist/antagonist (e.g., pentazocine, nalbuphine, and butorphanol) or partial agonist (e.g., buprenorphine) analgesics in patients who are receiving a full opioid agonist analgesic, including ZOHYDRO ER. In these patients, mixed agonist/antagonist and partial agonist analgesics may reduce the analgesic effect and/or may precipitate withdrawal symptoms.

When discontinuing ZOHYDRO ER, gradually taper the dosage. Do not abruptly discontinue ZOHYDRO ER.

Risks of Driving and Operating Machinery

ZOHYDRO ER may impair the mental and physical abilities needed to perform potentially hazardous activities such as driving a car or operating machinery. Warn patients not to drive or operate dangerous machinery unless they are tolerant to the effects of ZOHYDRO ER and know how they will react to the medication.

ADVERSE REACTIONS

Adverse reactions in ≥2% of patients in placebo-controlled trials include constipation, nausea, somnolence, fatigue, headache, dizziness, dry mouth, vomiting, pruritus, abdominal pain, edema peripheral, upper respiratory tract infection, muscle spasms, urinary tract infection, back pain, and tremor.

ADDITIONAL DRUG INTERACTIONS

Serotonergic Drugs: The concomitant use of opioids with other drugs that affect the serotonergic neurotransmitter system has resulted in serotonin syndrome.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs): MAOI interactions with opioids may manifest as serotonin syndrome or opioid toxicity (e.g., respiratory depression, coma).

Mixed Agonist/Antagonist and Partial Agonist Opioid Analgesics: May reduce the analgesic effect of ZOHYDRO ER and/or precipitate withdrawal symptoms.

Muscle Relaxants: Hydrocodone may enhance the neuromuscular blocking action of skeletal muscle relaxants and produce an increased degree of respiratory depression.

Diuretics: Opioids can reduce the efficacy of diuretics by inducing the release of antidiuretic hormone.

Anticholinergic Drugs: The concomitant use of anticholinergic drugs may increase risk of urinary retention and/or severe constipation, which may lead to paralytic ileus.

USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS

Pregnancy: May cause fetal harm.

Lactation: Not recommended.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of taking Zohydro® ER to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

To report adverse events, a product complaint, or for additional information about Zohydro® ER, call Pernix Therapeutics at 1-877-745-3667.

Please read full Prescribing Information for the full boxed warning, complete safety information, and medication guide.

Available by prescription only.

ZOHYDRO® ER with BeadTek® is manufactured for an affiliate of Pernix Therapeutics, LLC and distributed by Pernix Therapeutics, LLC., Morristown, NJ 07960.

ZOHYDRO® ER is a registered trademark of an affiliate of Pernix Therapeutics, LLC. BeadTek® is a registered trademark used by an affiliate of Pernix Therapeutics, LLC under license.

View full Important Safety Information

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

WARNING: ADDICTION, ABUSE AND MISUSE; LIFE-THREATENING RESPIRATORY DEPRESSION; ACCIDENTAL INGESTION; CYTOCHROME P450 3A4 INTERACTION; RISKS FROM CONCOMITANT USE WITH BENZODIAZEPINES AND OTHER CNS DEPRESSANTS; and INTERACTION WITH ALCOHOL;

Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse
ZOHYDRO ER exposes patients and other users to the risks of opioid addiction, abuse, and misuse, which can lead to overdose and death. Assess each patient's risk prior to prescribing ZOHYDRO ER and monitor all patients regularly for the development of these behaviors or conditions.

Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression
Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression may occur with use of ZOHYDRO ER. Monitor for respiratory depression, especially during initiation of ZOHYDRO ER or following a dose increase. Instruct patients to swallow ZOHYDRO ER capsules whole; crushing, chewing, or dissolving ZOHYDRO ER capsules can cause rapid release and absorption of a potentially fatal dose of hydrocodone.

Accidental Ingestion
Accidental ingestion of even one dose of ZOHYDRO ER, especially by children, can result in a fatal overdose of hydrocodone.

Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome
Prolonged use of ZOHYDRO ER during pregnancy can result in neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, which may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated, and requires management according to protocols developed by neonatology experts. If opioid use is required for a prolonged period in a pregnant woman, advise the patient of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available.

Cytochrome P450 3A4 Interaction
The concomitant use of ZOHYDRO ER with all cytochrome P450 3A4 inhibitors may result in an increase in hydrocodone plasma concentrations, which could increase or prolong adverse drug effects and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression. In addition, discontinuation of a concomitantly used cytochrome P450 3A4 inducer may result in an increase in hydrocodone plasma concentration. Monitor patients receiving ZOHYDRO ER and any CYP3A4 inhibitor or inducer.

Risks from Concomitant Use with Benzodiazepines or Other CNS Depressants
Concomitant use of opioids with benzodiazepines or other central nervous system (CNS) depressants, including alcohol, may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death.

  • Reserve concomitant prescribing of ZOHYDRO ER and benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate.
  • Limit dosages and durations to the minimum required.
  • Follow patients for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation.

Interaction with Alcohol
Instruct patients not to consume alcoholic beverages or use prescription or non-prescription products that contain alcohol while taking ZOHYDRO ER. The co-ingestion of alcohol with ZOHYDRO ER may result in increased plasma levels and a potentially fatal overdose of hydrocodone.

INDICATIONS AND USAGE

ZOHYDRO® ER (hydrocodone bitartrate) is indicated for the management of pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment and for which alternative treatment options are inadequate.

LIMITATIONS OF USE

  • Because of the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse with opioids, even at recommended doses, and because of the greater risks of overdose and death with extended-release opioid formulations, reserve ZOHYDRO ER for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options (e.g., non-opioid analgesics or immediate-release opioids) are ineffective, not tolerated, or would be otherwise inadequate to provide sufficient management of pain.
  • ZOHYDRO ER is not indicated as an as-needed (prn) analgesic.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Significant respiratory depression.
  • Acute or severe bronchial asthma in an unmonitored setting or in the absence of resuscitative equipment
  • Known or suspected gastrointestinal obstruction, including paralytic ileus
  • Hypersensitivity to hydrocodone or to any other components of ZOHYDRO ER.

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse

ZOHYDRO ER contains hydrocodone, a Schedule II controlled substance. As an opioid, ZOHYDRO ER exposes users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse. Because extended-release products such as ZOHYDRO ER deliver the opioid over an extended period of time, there is a greater risk for overdose and death due to the larger amount of hydrocodone present.

Although the risk of addiction in any individual is unknown, it can occur in patients appropriately prescribed ZOHYDRO ER. Addiction can occur at recommended doses and if the drug is misused or abused.

Assess each patient’s risk for opioid addiction, abuse, or misuse prior to prescribing ZOHYDRO ER, and monitor all patients receiving ZOHYDRO ER for the development of these behaviors and conditions. Risks are increased in patients with a personal or family history of substance abuse (including drug or alcohol addiction or abuse) or mental illness (e.g., major depression). The potential for these risks should not, however, prevent the prescribing of ZOHYDRO ER for the proper management of pain in any given patient. Patients at increased risk may be prescribed opioids such as ZOHYDRO ER, but use in such patients necessitates intensive counseling about the risks and proper use of ZOHYDRO ER along with intensive monitoring for signs of addiction, abuse, and misuse.

Abuse or misuse of ZOHYDRO ER by crushing, chewing, snorting, or injecting the dissolved product will result in the uncontrolled delivery of the hydrocodone and can result in overdose and death.

Opioids are sought by drug abusers and people with addiction disorders and are subject to criminal diversion. Consider these risks when prescribing or dispensing ZOHYDRO ER. Strategies to reduce these risks include prescribing the drug in the smallest appropriate quantity and advising the patient on the proper disposal of unused drug. Contact local state professional licensing board or state controlled substances authority for information on how to prevent and detect abuse or diversion of this product.

Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression

Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression has been reported with the use of opioids, even when used as recommended. Respiratory depression, if not immediately recognized and treated, may lead to respiratory arrest and death. Management of respiratory depression may include close observation, supportive measures, and use of opioid antagonists, depending on the patient’s clinical status. Carbon dioxide (CO2) retention from opioid-induced respiratory depression can exacerbate the sedating effects of opioids.


While serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression can occur at any time during the use of ZOHYDRO ER, the risk is greatest during the initiation of therapy or following a dosage increase. Monitor patients closely for respiratory depression, especially within the first 24-72 hours of initiating therapy with and following dosage increases of ZOHYDRO ER.

To reduce the risk of respiratory depression, proper dosing and titration of ZOHYDRO ER are essential. Overestimating the ZOHYDRO ER dose when converting patients from another opioid product can result in fatal overdose with the first dose.

Accidental ingestion of even one dose of ZOHYDRO ER, especially by children, can result in respiratory depression and death due to an overdose of hydrocodone.

Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome

Prolonged use of ZOHYDRO ER during pregnancy can result in withdrawal in the neonate. Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, unlike opioid withdrawal syndrome in adults, may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated, and requires management according to protocols developed by neonatology experts. Observe newborns for signs of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and mange accordingly. Advise pregnant women using opioids for a prolonged period of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available.

Risks from Concomitant Use or Discontinuation of Cytochrome P450 3A4 Inhibitors and Inducers

Concomitant use of ZOHYDRO ER with a CYP3A4 inhibitor, such as macrolide antibiotics (e.g., erythromycin), azole-antifungal agents (e.g., ketoconazole), and protease inhibitors (e.g., ritonavir), may increase plasma concentrations of hydrocodone and prolong opioid adverse reactions, which may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression, particularly when an inhibitor is added after a stable dose of ZOHYDRO ER is achieved. Similarly, discontinuation of a CYP3A4 inducer, such as rifampin, carbamazepine, and phenytoin, in ZOHYDRO ER-treated patients may increase hydrocodone plasma concentrations and prolong opioid adverse reactions. When using ZOHYDRO ER with CYP3A4 inhibitors or discontinuing CYP3A4 inducers in ZOHYDRO ER-treated patients, monitor patients closely at frequent intervals and consider dosage reduction of ZOHYDRO ER until stable drug effects are achieved.

Concomitant use of ZOHYDRO ER with CYP3A4 inducers or discontinuation of an CYP3A4 inhibitor could decrease hydrocodone plasma concentrations, decrease opioid efficacy or, possibly, lead to a withdrawal syndrome in a patient who had developed physical dependence to hydrocodone. When using ZOHYDRO ER with CYP3A4 inducers or discontinuing CYP3A4 inhibitors, monitor patients closely at frequent intervals and consider increasing the opioid dosage if needed to maintain adequate analgesia or if symptoms of opioid withdrawal occur.

Risks from Concomitant Use with Benzodiazepines or Other CNS Depressants

Profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death may result from the concomitant use of ZOHYDRO ER with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants (e.g., non-benzodiazepine sedatives/hypnotics, anxiolytics, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, general anesthetics, antipsychotics, other opioids, alcohol). Because of these risks, reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate.

Observational studies have demonstrated that concomitant use of opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines increases the risk of drug-related mortality compared to use of opioid analgesics alone. Because of similar pharmacological properties, it is reasonable to expect similar risk with the concomitant use of other CNS depressant drugs with opioid analgesics.

If the decision is made to prescribe a benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant concomitantly with an opioid analgesic, prescribe the lowest effective dosages and minimum duration of concomitant use. In patients already receiving an opioid analgesic, prescribe a lower initial dose of the benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant than indicated in the absence of an opioid, and titrate based on clinical response. If an opioid analgesic is initiated in a patient already taking a benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant, prescribe a lower initial dose of the opioid analgesic, and titrate based on clinical response. Follow patients closely for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation.

Advise both patients and caregivers about the risks of respiratory depression and sedation when ZOHYDRO ER is used with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants (including alcohol and illicit drugs). Advise patients not to drive or operate heavy machinery until the effects of concomitant use of the benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant have been determined. Screen patients for risk of substance use disorders, including opioid abuse and misuse, and warn them of the risk of overdose and death associated with the use of additional CNS depressants including alcohol and illicit drugs.

Patients must not consume alcoholic beverages, or prescription or non-prescription products containing alcohol, while on ZOHYDRO ER therapy. The co-ingestion of alcohol with ZOHYDRO ER may result in increased plasma levels and a potentially fatal overdose of hydrocodone.

Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression in Patients with Chronic Pulmonary Disease or in Elderly, Cachectic, or Debilitated Patients

The use of ZOHYDRO ER in patients with acute or severe bronchial asthma in an unmonitored setting or in the absence of resuscitative equipment is contraindicated.

Patients with Chronic Pulmonary Disease: ZOHYDRO ER-treated patients with significant chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cor pulmonale, and those with a substantially decreased respiratory reserve, hypoxia, hypercapnia, or pre-existing respiratory depression are at increased risk of decreased respiratory drive including apnea, even at recommended dosages of ZOHYDRO ER.

Elderly, Cachectic, or Debilitated Patients: Life-threatening respiratory depression is more likely to occur in elderly, cachectic, or debilitated patients because they may have altered pharmacokinetics or altered clearance compared to younger, healthier patients.

Monitor such patients closely, particular when initiating and titrating ZOHYDRO ER and when ZOHYDRO ER is given concomitantly with other drugs that depress respiration. Alternatively, consider the use of non-opioid analgesics in these patients.

Adrenal Insufficiency

Cases of adrenal insufficiency have been reported with opioid use, more often following greater than one month of use. Presentation of adrenal insufficiency may include non-specific symptoms and signs including nausea, vomiting, anorexia, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and low blood pressure. If adrenal insufficiency is suspected, confirm diagnosis with diagnostic testing as soon as possible. If adrenal insufficiency is diagnosed, treat with physiologic replacement doses of corticosteroids. Wean the patient off of the opioid to allow adrenal function to recover and continue corticosteroid treatment until adrenal function recovers. Other opioids may be tried as some cases reported use of a different opioid without recurrence of adrenal insufficiency. The information available does not identify any particular opioid as being more likely to be associated with adrenal insufficiency.

Severe Hypotension

ZOHYDRO ER may cause severe hypotension including orthostatic hypotension and syncope in ambulatory patients. There is an added risk in patients whose ability to maintain blood pressure has already been compromised by a reduced blood volume, or after concurrent administration of certain CNS depressant drugs (e.g., phenothiazines or general anesthetics). Monitor these patients for signs of hypotension after initiating or titrating the dosage of ZOHYDRO ER. In patients with circulatory shock, ZOHYDRO ER may cause vasodilation that can further reduce cardiac output and blood pressure. Avoid the use of ZOHYDRO ER in patients with circulatory shock.

Risks of Use in Patients with Increased Intracranial Pressure, Brain Tumors, Head Injury, or Impaired Consciousness

In patients who may be susceptible to the intracranial effects of CO2 retention (e.g., those with evidence of increased intracranial pressure or brain tumors), ZOHYDRO ER may reduce respiratory drive, and the resultant CO2 retention can further increase intracranial pressure. Monitor such patients for signs of sedation and respiratory depression, particularly when initiating therapy with ZOHYDRO ER.

Opioids may also obscure the clinical course in a patient with a head injury. Avoid the use of ZOHYDRO ER in patients with impaired consciousness or coma.

Risks of Use in Patients with Gastrointestinal Conditions

ZOHYDRO ER is contraindicated in patients with known or suspected gastrointestinal obstruction, including paralytic ileus. Hydrocodone in ZOHYDRO ER may cause spasm of the sphincter of Oddi. Opioids may cause increases in serum amylase. Monitor patients with biliary tract disease, including acute pancreatitis, for worsening of symptoms.

Increased Risk of Seizures in Patients with Seizure Disorders

The hydrocodone in ZOHYDRO ER may increase the frequency of seizures in patients with seizure disorders, and may increase the risk occurring in other clinical settings associated with seizures. Monitor patients with a history of seizure disorders for worsened seizure control during ZOHYDRO ER therapy.

Withdrawal

Avoid the use of mixed agonist/antagonist (e.g., pentazocine, nalbuphine, and butorphanol) or partial agonist (e.g., buprenorphine) analgesics in patients who are receiving a full opioid agonist analgesic, including ZOHYDRO ER. In these patients, mixed agonist/antagonist and partial agonist analgesics may reduce the analgesic effect and/or may precipitate withdrawal symptoms.

When discontinuing ZOHYDRO ER, gradually taper the dosage. Do not abruptly discontinue ZOHYDRO ER.

Risks of Driving and Operating Machinery

ZOHYDRO ER may impair the mental and physical abilities needed to perform potentially hazardous activities such as driving a car or operating machinery. Warn patients not to drive or operate dangerous machinery unless they are tolerant to the effects of ZOHYDRO ER and know how they will react to the medication.

ADVERSE REACTIONS

Adverse reactions in ≥2% of patients in placebo-controlled trials include constipation, nausea, somnolence, fatigue, headache, dizziness, dry mouth, vomiting, pruritus, abdominal pain, edema peripheral, upper respiratory tract infection, muscle spasms, urinary tract infection, back pain, and tremor.

ADDITIONAL DRUG INTERACTIONS

Serotonergic Drugs: The concomitant use of opioids with other drugs that affect the serotonergic neurotransmitter system has resulted in serotonin syndrome.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs): MAOI interactions with opioids may manifest as serotonin syndrome or opioid toxicity (e.g., respiratory depression, coma).

Mixed Agonist/Antagonist and Partial Agonist Opioid Analgesics: May reduce the analgesic effect of ZOHYDRO ER and/or precipitate withdrawal symptoms.

Muscle Relaxants: Hydrocodone may enhance the neuromuscular blocking action of skeletal muscle relaxants and produce an increased degree of respiratory depression.

Diuretics: Opioids can reduce the efficacy of diuretics by inducing the release of antidiuretic hormone.

Anticholinergic Drugs: The concomitant use of anticholinergic drugs may increase risk of urinary retention and/or severe constipation, which may lead to paralytic ileus.

USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS

Pregnancy: May cause fetal harm.

Lactation: Not recommended.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of taking ZOHYDRO ER to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

To report adverse events, a product complaint, or for additional information about ZOHYDRO ER, call Pernix Therapeutics at 1-877-745-3667.

Please read full Prescribing Information for the full boxed warning, complete safety information, and medication guide.

Available by prescription only.

ZOHYDRO® ER with BeadTek® is manufactured for an affiliate of Pernix Therapeutics, LLC and distributed by Pernix Therapeutics, LLC., Morristown, NJ 07960.

ZOHYDRO® ER is a registered trademark of an affiliate of Pernix Therapeutics, LLC. BeadTek® is a registered trademark used by an affiliate of Pernix Therapeutics, LLC under license.