Oxycodone and Aspirin - Pharmacology Oxycodone Hydrochloride and Aspirin

Pharmacology refers to the chemical makeup and behavior of OXYCODONE AND ASPIRIN (oxycodone hydrochloride and aspirin tablet).


Oxycodone and aspirin tablets, USP tablets are an immediate-release opioid agonist intended for oral administration only.

Each oxycodone and aspirin tablets contains:

Oxycodone Hydrochloride, USP 4.8355 mg
4.8355 mg oxycodone HCl is equivalent to 4.3346 mg of oxycodone as the free base.

Aspirin, USP
325 mg

Oxycodone and aspirin tablets also contain the following inactive ingredients: corn starch, colloidal silicon dioxide, microcrystalline cellulose, and stearic acid.

The oxycodone hydrochloride component is Morphinan-6-one, 4,5-epoxy-14-hydroxy-3-methoxy-17- methyl-, hydrochloride, (5α)-., a white to off-white, hygroscopic crystals or powder, odorless, soluble in water; slightly soluble in alcohol and is represented by the following structural formula:

oxycodone 01.jpg

The aspirin component is 2-(acetyloxy)-, Benzoic acid, a white crystal, commonly tabular or needle-like, or white, crystalline powder. Is odorless or has a faint odor. Is stable in dry air; in moist air it gradually hydrolyzes to salicylic and acetic acids. Slightly soluble in water; freely soluble in alcohol; soluble in chloroform and in ether; sparingly soluble in absolute ether and is represented by the following structural formula:

oxycodone 02.jpg

Clinical Pharmacology

mechanism of action

Oxycodone is a full opioid agonist and is relatively selective for the mu-opioid receptor, although it can bind to other opioid receptors at higher doses. The principal therapeutic action of oxycodone is analgesia. Like all full opioid agonists, there is no ceiling effect for analgesia with oxycodone. Clinically, dosage is titrated to provide adequate analgesia and may be limited by adverse reactions, including respiratory and CNS depression.

The precise mechanism of the analgesic action of oxycodone is unknown. However, specific CNS opioid receptors for endogenous compounds with opioid-like activity have been identified throughout the brain and spinal cord and are thought to play a role in the analgesic effects of this drug.

Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) works by inhibiting the body's production of prostaglandins, including prostaglandins involved in inflammation. Prostaglandins cause pain sensations by stimulating muscle contractions and dilating blood vessels throughout the body. In the CNS, aspirin works on the hypothalamus heat-regulating center to reduce fever, however, other mechanisms may be involved.


effects on the central nervous system

Oxycodone produces respiratory depression by direct action on brain stem respiratory centers. The respiratory depression involves a reduction in the responsiveness of the brain stem respiratory centers to increases in both carbon dioxide tension and electrical stimulation.

Oxycodone causes miosis, even in total darkness. Pinpoint pupils are a sign of opioid overdose but are not pathognomonic (e.g., pontine lesions of hemorrhagic or ischemic origins may produce similar findings). Marked mydriasis rather than miosis may be seen due to hypoxia in overdose situations.

effects on the gastrointestinal tract & other smooth muscle

Oxycodone causes a reduction in motility associated with an increase in smooth muscle tone in the antrum of the stomach and duodenum. Digestion of food in the small intestine is delayed and propulsive contractions are decreased. Propulsive peristaltic waves in the colon are decreased, while tone may be increased to the point of spasm resulting in constipation. Other opioid-induced effects may include a reduction in biliary and pancreatic secretions, spasm of sphincter of Oddi, and transient elevations in serum amylase.

Aspirin can produce gastrointestinal injury (lesions, ulcers) through a mechanism that is not yet completely understood, but may involve a reduction in eicosanoid synthesis by the gastric mucosa. Decreased production of prostaglandins may compromise the defenses of the gastric mucosa and the activity of substances involved in tissue repair and ulcer healing.

effects on the cardiovascular system

Oxycodone produces peripheral vasodilation which may result in orthostatic hypotension or syncope. Manifestations of histamine release and/or peripheral vasodilation may include pruritus, flushing, red eyes and sweating and/or orthostatic hypotension.

Use caution in hypovolemic patients, such as those suffering acute myocardial infarction, because oxycodone may cause or further aggravate their hypotension. Caution must also be used in patients with cor pulmonale who have received therapeutic doses of opioids.

effects on the endocrine system

Opioids inhibit the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), cortisol, and luteinizing hormone (LH) in humans (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). They also stimulate prolactin, growth hormone (GH) secretion, and pancreatic secretion of insulin and glucagon.

Chronic use of opioids may influence the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, leading to androgen deficiency that may manifest as low libido, impotence, erectile dysfunction, amenorrhea, or infertility. The causal role of opioids in the clinical syndrome of hypogonadism is unknown because the various medical, physical, lifestyle, and psychological stressors that may influence gonadal hormone levels have not been adequately controlled for in studies conducted to date (see ADVERSE REACTIONS).

effects on the immune system

Opioids have been shown to have a variety of effects on components of the immune system in in vitro and animal models. The clinical significance of these findings is unknown. Overall, the effects of opioids appear to be modestly immunosuppressive.

concentration–efficacy relationships

The minimum effective analgesic concentration will vary widely among patients, especially among patients who have been previously treated with potent agonist opioids. The minimum effective analgesic concentration of oxycodone for any individual patient may increase over time due to an increase in pain, the development of a new pain syndrome and/or the development of analgesic tolerance (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

concentration–adverse reaction relationships

There is a relationship between increasing oxycodone plasma concentration and increasing frequency of dose-related opioid adverse reactions such as nausea, vomiting, CNS effects, and respiratory depression. In opioid-tolerant patients, the situation may be altered by the development of tolerance to opioid-related adverse reactions (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

The dose of oxycodone and aspirin tablets must be individualized because the effective analgesic dose for some patients will be too high to be tolerated by other patients (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

platelet aggregation

Aspirin affects platelet aggregation by irreversibly inhibiting prostaglandin cyclo-oxygenase. This effect lasts for the life of the platelet and prevents the formation of the platelet aggregating factor thromboxane A2. Nonacetylated salicylates do not inhibit this enzyme and have no effect on platelet aggregation. At somewhat higher doses, aspirin reversibly inhibits the formation of prostaglandin 12 (prostacyclin), which is an arterial vasodilator and inhibits platelet aggregation.



The mean absolute oral bioavailability of oxycodone in cancer patients was reported to be about 87%. This high oral bioavailability is due to low pre-systemic elimination and/or first-pass metabolism.


The volume of distribution after intravenous administration is 211.9 ±186.6 L. Oxycodone has been shown to be 45% bound to human plasma proteins in vitro. Oxycodone has been found in breast milk (see PRECAUTIONS).

Aspirin is hydrolyzed primarily to salicylic acid in the gut wall and during first-pass metabolism through the liver. Salicylic acid is absorbed rapidly from the stomach, but most of the absorption occurs in the proximal small intestine. Following absorption, salicylate is distributed to most body tissues and fluids, including fetal tissues, breast milk, and the CNS. High concentrations are found in the liver and kidneys. Salicylate is variably bound to serum proteins, particularly albumin.



Oxycodone is extensively metabolized by multiple metabolic pathways to produce noroxycodone, oxymorphone and noroxymorphone, which are subsequently glucuronidated. Noroxycodone and noroxymorphone are the major circulating metabolites. CYP3A mediated N-demethylation to noroxycodone is the primary metabolic pathway of oxycodone with a lower contribution from CYP2D6 mediated O-demethylation to oxymorphone. Therefore, the formation of these and related metabolites can, in theory, be affected by other drugs (see Drug-Drug Interactions).

Noroxycodone exhibits very weak anti-nociceptive potency compared to oxycodone, however, it undergoes further oxidation to produce noroxymorphone, which is active at opioid receptors. Although noroxymorphone is an active metabolite and present at relatively high concentrations in circulation, it does not appear to cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant extent. Oxymorphone, is present in the plasma only at low concentrations and undergoes further metabolism to form its glucuronide and noroxymorphone. Oxymorphone has been shown to be active and possessing analgesic activity but its contribution to analgesia following oxycodone administration is thought to be clinically insignificant, based on the amount formed. Other metabolites (α- and ß-oxycodol, noroxycodol and oxymorphol) may be present at very low concentrations and demonstrate limited penetration into the brain as compared to oxycodone. The enzymes responsible for keto-reduction and glucuronidation pathways in oxycodone metabolism have not been established.

The biotransformation of aspirin occurs primarily in the liver by the microsomal enzyme system. With a plasma half-life of approximately 15 minutes, aspirin is rapidly hydrolyzed to salicylate. At low doses, salicylate elimination follows first-order kinetics. The plasma half-life of salicylate is approximately 2 to 3 hours.


Free and conjugated noroxycodone, free and conjugated oxycodone, and oxymorphone are excreted in human urine following a single oral dose of oxycodone. Approximately 8% to 14% of the dose is excreted as free oxycodone over 24 hours after administration.

Approximately 10% of aspirin is excreted as unchanged salicylate in the urine. The major metabolites excreted in the urine are salicyluric acid (75%), salicyl phenolic glucuronide (10%), salicyl acyl glucuronide (5%), and gentisic and gentisuric acid (less than 1%) each. Eighty to 100% of a single dose is excreted in the urine within 24 to 72 hours.

drug-drug interactions


inhibitors of cyp3a4

Since the CYP3A4 isoenzyme plays a major role in the metabolism of oxycodone and aspirin tablets, drugs that inhibit CYP3A4 activity, such as macrolide antibiotics (e.g., erythromycin), azole-antifungal agents (e.g., ketoconazole), and protease inhibitors (e.g., ritonavir), may cause decreased clearance of oxycodone which could lead to an increase in oxycodone plasma concentrations. A published study showed that the co-administration of the antifungal drug, voriconazole, increased oxycodone AUC and Cmax by 3.6 and fold, respectively. The expected clinical results would be increased or prolonged opioid effects.

inducers of cyp450

CYP450 inducers, such as rifampin, carbamazepine, and phenytoin, may induce the metabolism of oxycodone, may cause increased clearance of the drug which could lead to a decrease in oxycodone plasma concentrations. A published study showed that the co-administration of rifampin, a drug metabolizing enzyme inducer, decreased oxycodone (oral) AUC and Cmax by 86% and 63% respectively. The expected clinical results would be lack of efficacy or, possibly, development of abstinence syndrome in a patient who had developed physical dependence to oxycodone. Induction of CYP3A4 may be of greatest importance given oxycodone's metabolic pathways.

This drug label information is as submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is intended for informational purposes only. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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