Relative Bioavailability, Intranasal Abuse Potential, and Safety of Benzhydrocodone/Acetaminophen Compared with Hydrocodone Bitartrate/Acetaminophen in Recreational Drug Abusers.

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Abstract

Objectives

Benzhydrocodone is a hydrocodone prodrug that has been combined with acetaminophen (APAP) in a novel immediate-release analgesic. This study evaluated the relative bioavailability, intranasal abuse potential, and safety of benzhydrocodone/APAP compared with commercially available hydrocodone bitartrate (HB)/APAP.

Design

Single-center, randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, two-part study comprising a Dose Selection (Part A) phase and a Main Study (Part B) phase.

Setting

Clinical research site.

Subjects

Healthy adult, nondependent, recreational opioid users with a history of intranasal abuse.

Methods

Subjects (N = 42) in Part B received five in-clinic treatments consisting of intranasal and oral benzhydrocodone/APAP (13.34/650 mg), intranasal and oral hydrocodone/APAP (15/650 mg), and placebo, with four or more days of washout between treatments. Pharmacodynamic assessments included subjective effects of Drug Liking, Overall Drug Liking, and Take Drug Again (assessed on visual analog scale [VAS]), as well as nasal irritation. Pharmacokinetics and safety were also assessed.

Results

Hydrocodone Cmax was 11% lower for intranasal benzhydrocodone/APAP vs intranasal HB/APAP (P = 0.0027). Early cumulative hydrocodone exposures for intranasal benzhydrocodone/APAP through 0.5, 1, and 2 hours were reduced by approximately 50%, 29%, and 15%, respectively (P ≤ 0.0024). Correspondingly, Drug Liking VAS values up to two hours postdose were significantly lower for intranasal benzhydrocodone/APAP vs intranasal HB/APAP (P ≤ 0.0079), although peak Drug Liking VAS (Emax) scores were not different (P = 0.2814). Adverse nasal effects were more frequent for intranasal benzhydrocodone/APAP vs intranasal HB/APAP.

Conclusions

Reduced hydrocodone exposure and drug liking at early time intervals, coupled with adverse nasal effects, can be expected to provide a level of deterrence to the intranasal route of abuse for benzhydrocodone/APAP.

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