Covidien (NYSE: COV), a leading global provider of healthcare products, today introduced EXALGO™ (hydromorphone HCI) Extended-Release Tablets, (CII), the only extended-release hydromorphone treatment available in the United States. This proven therapy, combined with an innovative delivery system, provides opioid-tolerant patients suffering from moderate-to-severe chronic pain relief for 24 hours per dose.
“Chronic pain patients experience pain so severe it can often be crippling”
Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 1, 2010, EXALGO tablets provide a well-known therapy in hydromorphone HCl - used in the treatment of chronic pain for more than 80 years. The indication for EXALGO is once-daily administration for the management of moderate-to-severe pain in opioid-tolerant patients requiring continuous, around-the-clock opioid analgesia for an extended period of time. EXALGO is available in 8 mg, 12 mg and 16 mg tablets.
"Chronic pain patients experience pain so severe it can often be crippling," said noted pain treatment expert, Dr. Lynn Webster, Medical Director of Lifetree Clinical Research and Pain Clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah. "This pain can make it almost impossible for patients to hold a job, or to do simple activities, such as going to the grocery store or taking their child to soccer practice. Extended-release formulations like EXALGO can help make daily pain more manageable by avoiding the peaks and troughs of pain that can occur with short-acting opioids."
Currently there is an unmet need for longer-lasting treatments to manage chronic pain. In the 2006 American Pain Foundation's Voices of Chronic Pain Survey, only 23 percent of chronic pain patients reported their medications were "very effective."1 Historically, patients who suffered from chronic pain may have been prescribed short-acting opioids or some other extended-release opioids, which would have caused them to take multiple doses of their pain medication over the course of one day.
"As the largest supplier of generic controlled pain medications in the United States, based on number of prescriptions, Covidien is focused on providing patients with access to advanced medications that expand the limits of pain therapy by combining proven drugs with innovative delivery systems," said Timothy R. Wright, President, Pharmaceuticals, Covidien. "With the launch of EXALGO tablets, opioid-tolerant chronic pain patients will be given the option to take one dose each day that provides 24 hours of relief and keeps pain waiting. This is a breakthrough for pain management."
EXALGO utilizes the OROS® Push-Pull™ osmotic delivery system designed to release the opioid at a controlled rate. By providing a steady release of hydromorphone throughout the day, the drug is formulated to help minimize the peaks and troughs that are sometimes experienced by chronic pain patients who rely on products that are dosed at more frequent intervals to deliver pain relief.
With the addition of extended-release opioids to the pain treatment landscape, physicians have another tool to help patients manage what is often debilitating moderate-to-severe chronic pain.
The launch of EXALGO tablets includes a comprehensive Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program that is designed to assure the safe use of EXALGO. The REMS program for EXALGO includes a medication guide and a robust set of educational programs and materials. Covidien's focused effort to help ensure that prescribers, pharmacists and patients have the needed information regarding appropriate prescribing, dispensing and use of EXALGO tablets will be an important piece of the EXALGO REMS program. Under the program, healthcare provider education is required as an important element to assure safe use, with a focus on appropriate patient selection and dosing. There is no restricted distribution network for EXALGO, and no requirement for physicians, pharmacists or patients to enroll in a registry in order to access the product.
As part of Covidien's ongoing commitment to be a responsible advocate for patients, the Company also has developed a broad range of voluntary safe-use tools for EXALGO that will be provided to healthcare professionals, pharmacists, patients and caregivers. These materials include a patient/prescriber medication agreement, patient counseling guide and additional safe-use tools. All materials will be continually reviewed and updated based on feedback from patients and prescribers.