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Acute opioid withdrawal precipitated by ingestion of crushed embeda (morphine extended release with sequestered naltrexone): case report and the focused review of the literature.

Author(s): Ruan X, Chen T, Gudin J, Couch JP, Chiravuri S

Affiliation(s): Physicians' Pain Specialists of Alabama, Mobile, USA.

Publication date & source: 2010-07, J Opioid Manag., 6(4):300-3.

Publication type: Case Reports; Review

BACKGROUND: The introduction of newly formulated extended release (ER) morphine with sequestered naltrexone (Embeda) has provided another treatment option for moderate to severe persistent pain. Embeda was designed to be an abuse-deterrent opioid formulation. Naltrexone is a centrally acting opioid receptor antagonist that blocks the action of opioid. When taken as directed, insignificant amount of sequestered naltrexone would reach systemic circulation, but upon tampering, the released naltrexone may blunt the euphoria of opioids, and possibly precipitate opioid withdrawal in opioid-dependent patient. OBJECTIVE: To describe a case report ofa 50-year-old opioid-dependent male who developed acute opioid withdrawal after taking crushed Embeda. CASE REPORT: A 50-year-old male with severe, chronic low back pain due to degenerative disc disease was referred to our clinic for pain management. He was taking ER oxycodone 80 mg tid and Roxicodone 30 mg qid prn, with inadequate pain relief A trial of ER oxymorphone was decided, at 40 mg 1-2 doses bid. The patient returned to the clinic 1 week early, out of his ER oxymorphone. At this time, the decision to switch him to Embeda was made, at 80 mg/3.2 mg, 1-2 doses bid. The patient and his family members were counseled about risk involved with tampering with Embeda. A few hours later, our clinic was informed that the patient was brought to emergency room by ambulance, in severe opioid withdrawal. He was treated with IV fluid, antiemetics, clonidine, and IV hydromorphone. His condition improved and he was discharged home the next morning. Later on, the patient admitted that he took two prescribed Embeda within half an hour, the 1st one whole and the 2nd one crushed. He further admitted that he did so against our medical advice. CONCLUSION. Taking tampered Embeda may precipitate opioid withdrawal in opioid-tolerant patient. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of induced opioid withdrawal following consumption of crushed Embeda.

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