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J Pain. 2010 Apr;11(4):303-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2009.07.017. Epub 2009 Nov 27.

ALO-01 (morphine sulfate and naltrexone hydrochloride) extended-release capsules in the treatment of chronic pain of osteoarthritis of the hip or knee: pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety.

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Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts; Analgesic Research, Needham, MA 02494, USA.


ALO-01 (EMBEDA [morphine sulfate and naltrexone hydrochloride] extended-release capsules [King Pharmaceuticals, Inc, Bridgewater, NJ]), indicated for chronic moderate-to-severe pain, is designed to release naltrexone upon tampering (eg, by crushing), reducing morphine-induced subjective effects. This multicenter, randomized, double-blind, crossover study assessed pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety of ALO-01 and compared them with extended-release morphine sulfate (ERMS, KADIAN [morphine sulfate extended-release] capsules [Actavis US, Morristown, NJ]) in adults (N = 113) with osteoarthritis pain. Study periods included washout until pain flare (intensity > or =5, 0 to 10; 0 = no pain, 10 = worst pain); dose titration with ERMS (20 to 160mg BID); and randomization to 2 (crossover) 14-day treatment periods with ERMS or ALO-01, separated by 7 days of open-label ERMS. Assessments included pharmacokinetics (morphine, naltrexone), pain scores (0 to 10), Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) Osteoarthritis Index; Patient Global Assessment of Medication (1 to 5; poor to excellent). Mean score at pain flare was 7.1. Morphine exposure from both formulations at steady state was similar. Plasma naltrexone concentrations were below limit-of-quantification for most patients and, when present, did not impact pain scores. During treatment, mean pain intensity (day 14: ERMS, 2.4; ALO-01, 2.3, P = .31), WOMAC change-from-baseline (mean pain, physical function, composite scores), and adverse event frequency were similar. ALO-01 and ERMS provided similar relief of osteoarthritis pain.


We present data demonstrating that ALO-01 has steady-state morphine exposure, efficacy, and safety similar to marketed ERMS capsules. Results highlight the potential for morphine in ALO-01 to manage moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis pain, while the sequestered naltrexone does not interfere with efficacy.

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