Exalgo is a brand-name, prescription opioid medication. The generic name of Exalgo is hydromorphone hydrochloride extended-release tablets. Exalgo is prescribed to manage pain in people who are opioid-tolerant and who require daily, around-the-clock, long-term treatment. Exalgo is reserved for use in people who don’t respond to other treatment options. Opioid tolerance means someone is receiving a minimum of 60 mg of oral morphine per day, 25 mcg transdermal fentanyl per hour or 25 mg of oral oxymorphone per day for at least a week or longer. In 2012, a very high 32 mg dose was approved by the FDA. The drug is extended-release and is used to treat moderate-to-serve chronic pain. Before the FDA’s approval of the 32 mg dose of Exalgo, there were already 8 mg, 12 mg and 16 mg tablets available. Exalgo is a unique opioid pain reliever because it’s a drug delivery system that offers controlled release. It’s also difficult to misuse Exalgo by crushing it, chewing it or dissolving it.
Certain warnings come with the use of Exalgo. For example, it shouldn’t be used by anyone who wasn’t previously taking another opioid pain medicine. Exalgo shouldn’t be used by someone with asthma or breathing problems or individuals with bowel blockages. Exalgo is a controlled substance, like other opioid pain medicines. Since Exalgo is available in such high dosages as a controlled-release drug, there is a significant risk of fatal respiratory depression associated with its use.
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Since Exalgo is an opioid or narcotic drug, with the generic name hydromorphone, it is addictive. There is always the risk of misuse, addiction and dependence with any opioid medication. There are certain safeguards built into Exalgo to help reduce the risk of misuse, such as the fact that it’s difficult to crush it or dissolve it. However, if it is misused, it is addictive. Opioids like hydromorphone are addictive because of the effect on the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Opioids trigger dopamine to rush into the brain of the patient, creating a high. This is the case with not only prescription pain relievers but also heroin. Over time, the brain adjusts to the presence of opioids, and a dependence forms as well. Before a doctor prescribes Exalgo or any opioid pain medication to a patient, they should go through their medical history. They should especially focus on whether or not the patient has a history of substance misuse or addiction, personally or in their family. When prescribing Exalgo, physicians are instructed not only to assess the history of the patient but also regularly monitor them for signs of misuse or addiction.