Relative Bioavailability, Intranasal Abuse Potential, and Safety of Benzhydrocodone/Acetaminophen Compared with Hydrocodone Bitartrate/Acetaminophen in Recreational Drug Abusers
Guenther, S.M.; Mickle, T.C.; Barrett, A.C.; Roupe, K.A.; Zhou, J.; Lam, V.
Pain Medicine 19(5): 955-966
ISSN/ISBN: 1526-4637 PMID: 29025138 DOI: 10.1093/pm/pnx195
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. Single-center, randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, two-part study comprising a Dose Selection (Part A) phase and a Main Study (Part B) phase. Clinical research site. Healthy adult, nondependent, recreational opioid users with a history of intranasal abuse. 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. 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. 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.