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Abuse-deterrent properties of REMOXY® ER, a high-viscosity extended-release oxycodone formulation

Shawn A. Kucera, PhD, Michael S. Zamloot, BS ChE, Michael M. Crowley, PhD, Lindsay H. Burns, PhD, Nadav Friedmann, PhD, MD, Remi Barbier, MBA


Objective: These in vitro studies compared abuse-deterrent properties of REMOXY ER (extended-release oxycodone), a novel, high-viscosity gel formulation, versus the two currently marketed ER oxycodone formulations.

Methods: Tampering methods were tailored to each product to maximize oxycodone release with the least complexity, time, and effort, based on the physical/chemical properties of each formulation. Oral abuse was simulated by extracting oxycodone from each manipulated formulation in Common Ingestible Liquids and in Advanced Solvents (not ingestible and requiring additional separation). To simulate injection abuse, oxycodone was extracted from each manipulated formulation in low volumes of injection vehicles, heated or unheated. Inhalation abuse potential was assessed by volatilization.

Results: In oral abuse simulations, manipulated REMOXY ER released 2-22 percent of its oxycodone in 20 minutes in five Common Ingestible Liquids, versus 77-85 percent oxycodone released from OxyContin® ER in 5 minutes in four of the five. In six Advanced Solvents, REMOXY ER released 3-37 percent at 20 minutes, versus 55-89 percent released from OxyContin ER at 5 minutes. Minimal oxycodone was extracted from REMOXY ER in five injection vehicles, heated or unheated. In contrast, OxyContin ER released 65-87 percent of its oxycodone within 10 minutes in all vehicles, regardless of heating. Xtampza® ER released 96 percent of its oxycodone in a heated injection vehicle and released 50-60 percent in two unheated injection vehicles. Showing minimal inhalation abuse potential, 9 percent of oxycodone was vaporized from manipulated REMOXY ER at 20 minutes compared to 8.8 percent at 5 minutes for OxyContin ER.

Conclusions: In these studies, REMOXY ER demonstrated robust and meaningful abuse-deterrence relative to OxyContin ER and Xtampza ER.

Perspective: Abuse-deterrent drugs were intended to help fight opioid abuse. Yet, the persistence of the opioid epidemic indicates that vast improvements in abuse-deterrent technology are sorely needed. A new, high-viscosity, ER oxycodone formulation showed much improved abuse-deterrent properties in simulations of oral, injection, and inhalation abuse, compared to earlier, first-generation formulations.


opioid abuse, in vitro dissolution, injection, inhalation

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