Relative oral bioavailability of morphine and naltrexone derived from crushed morphine sulfate and naltrexone hydrochloride extended-release capsules versus intact product and versus naltrexone solution: A single-dose, randomized-sequence, open-label, three-way crossover trial in healthy volunteers

Franklin K. Johnson, Jeffrey G. Stark, Frederick A. Bieberdorf, Joe Stauffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Morphine sulfate/sequestered naltrexone hydrochloride (HCl) (MS-sNT) extended-release fixed-dose combination capsules, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August 2009 for chronic moderate to severe pain, contain extended-release morphine pellets with a sequestered core of the opioid antagonist naltrexone. MS-sNT was designed so that if the product is tampered with by crushing, the naltrexone becomes bioavailable to mitigate morphine-induced subjective effects, rendering the product less attractive for tampering.Objectives: The primary aim of this study was to compare the oral bioavailability of naltrexone and its metabolite 6-β-naltrexol, derived from crushed pellets from MS-sNT capsules, to naltrexone solution. This study also assessed the relative bioavailability of morphine from crushed pellets from MS-sNT capsules and that from the whole, intact product.Methods: This single-dose, randomized-sequence, open-label, 3-period, 3-treatment crossover trial was conducted in healthy volunteers. Adults admitted to the study center underwent a 10-hour overnight fast before study drug administration. Each subject received all 3 of the following treatments, 1 per session, separated by a 14-day washout: tampered pellets (crushed for ≥2 minutes with a mortar and pestle) from a 60-mg MS-sNT capsule (60 mg morphine/2.4 mg naltrexone); 60-mg whole, intact MS-sNT capsule; and oral naltrexone HCl (2.4 mg) solution. Plasma concentrations of naltrexone and 6-β-naltrexol were measured 0 to 168 hours after administration. Morphine pharmaco-kinetics of crushed and whole pellets were determined 0 to 72 hours after administration. The analysis of relative bioavailability was based on conventional FDA criteria for assuming bioequivalence; that is, 90% CIs for ratios of geometric means (natural logarithm [In]-transformed Cmax and AUC) fell within the range of 80% to 125%. Subjects underwent physical examinations, clinical laboratory tests, and ECG at screening and study discharge and were monitored for adverse events (AEs) throughout the study.Results: Of the 24 subjects enrolled in the study, 23 completed it. Most subjects were white (79%) and male (63%); the mean (SD) age was 39.3 (11.2) years and the mean weight was 77.6 (13.5) kg (range, 55.0102.5 kg). Plasma Cmax and AUC0-t of naltrexone after the administration of crushed pellets of MS-sNT (579 pg/mL and 1811 h · pg/mL, respectively) and naltrexone solution (584 pg/mL and 1954 h · pg/mL) were not significantly different; 90% CIs were 83.8% to 116% and 83.3% to 102%, meeting the regulatory requirements for assuming bioequivalence in this study population. Plasma naltrexone concentration was below the lower limit of quantitation (4.0 pg/mL) in 23 of 24 subjects (96%) after whole MS-sNT administration. Morphine AUC0-t was not significantly different whether MS-sNT was crushed (163 h · ng/mL) or administered whole (174 h · ng/mL), but Cmax was numerically higher (24.5 vs 7.7 ng/mL) and Tmax was numerically shorter (2.00 vs 7.03 hours) with MS-sNT crushed versus whole. The most commonly reported AEs were nausea (8/23 [35%], 10/24 [42%], and 3/23 [13%] subjects in the crushed, whole, and naltrexone groups, respectively) and emesis (6 [26%], 7 [29%], and 2 [9%]).Conclusions: In this single-dose study, when pellets from MS-sNT were crushed, naltrexone appeared to be completely released and available to mitigate morphine-induced effects. When MS-sNT was administered whole, morphine was released in an extended-release fashion while naltrexone remained sequestered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1149-1164
Number of pages16
JournalClinical therapeutics
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010

Keywords

  • Abuse
  • Morphine
  • Naltrexone
  • Opioid
  • Tampering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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