Because of the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse with opioids, even at recommended doses [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)], reserve Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options [e.g., non-opioid analgesics or opioid combination products]:
- Have not been tolerated, or are not expected to be tolerated,
- Have not provided adequate analgesia, or are not expected to provide adequate analgesia
Use of Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection as the First Opioid Analgesic
Subcutaneous or Intramuscular Administration
The usual starting dose is 1 mg to 2 mg every 2 to 3 hours as necessary for pain. Depending on the clinical situation, the initial starting dose may be lowered in patients who are opioid naïve.
The initial starting dose is 0.2 mg to 1 mg every 2 to 3 hours as necessary for pain control. Intravenous administration should be given slowly, over at least 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the dose. Titrate the dose to achieve acceptable pain management and tolerable adverse events. The initial dose should be reduced in the elderly or debilitated and may be lowered to 0.2 mg.
Conversion from Other Opioids to Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection
There is inter-patient variability in the potency of opioid drugs and opioid formulations. Therefore, a conservative approach is advised when determining the total daily dosage of Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection. It is safer to underestimate a patient's 24-hour Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection dosage than to overestimate the 24-hour Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection dosage and manage an adverse reaction due to overdose. If the decision is made to convert to Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection from another opioid analgesic using publicly available data, convert the current total daily amount(s) of opioid(s) received to an equivalent total daily dose of Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection and reduce by one-half due to the possibility of incomplete cross tolerance. Divide the new total amount by the number of doses permitted based on dosing interval (e.g., 8 doses for every-three-hour dosing). Titrate the dose according to the patient's response.
Patients with Chronic Pulmonary Disease: Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection-treated patients with significant chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cor pulmonale, and those with a substantially decreased respiratory reserve, hypoxia, hypercapnia, or pre-existing respiratory depression are at increased risk of decreased respiratory drive including apnea, even at recommended dosages of hydromorphone hydrochloride [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].
Elderly, Cachectic, or Debilitated Patients: Life-threatening respiratory depression is more likely to occur in elderly, cachectic, or debilitated patients because they may have altered pharmacokinetics or altered clearance compared to younger, healthier patients [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].
Monitor such patients closely, particularly when initiating and titrating Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection and when Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection is given concomitantly with other drugs that depress respiration [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)]. Alternatively, consider the use of non-opioid analgesics in these patients.
Less Frequently Observed Adverse Reactions
Cardiac disorders: tachycardia, bradycardia, palpitations
Eye disorders: vision blurred, diplopia, miosis, visual impairment
Gastrointestinal disorders: constipation, ileus, diarrhea, abdominal pain
General disorders and administration site conditions: weakness, feeling abnormal, chills, injection site urticaria
Hepatobiliary disorders: biliary colic
Metabolism and nutrition disorders: decreased appetite
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders: muscle rigidity
Nervous system disorders: headache, tremor, paraesthesia, nystagmus, increased intracranial pressure, syncope, taste alteration, involuntary muscle contractions, presyncope
Psychiatric disorders: agitation, mood altered, nervousness, anxiety, depression, hallucination, disorientation, insomnia, abnormal dreams
Renal and urinary disorders: urinary retention, urinary hesitation, antidiuretic effects
Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders: bronchospasm, laryngospasm
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders: injection site pain, urticaria, rash, hyperhidrosis
Vascular disorders: flushing, hypotension, hypertension
Serotonin syndrome: Cases of serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition, have been reported during concomitant use of opioids with serotonergic drugs.
Adrenal insufficiency: Cases of adrenal insufficiency have been reported with opioid use, more often following greater than one month of use.
Anaphylaxis: Anaphylaxis has been reported with ingredients contained in Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection.
Androgen deficiency: Cases of androgen deficiency have occurred with chronic use of opioids.
Prolonged use of opioid analgesics during pregnancy may cause neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)]. There are no available data with Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection in pregnant women to inform a drug-associated risk for major birth defects and miscarriage.
In published animal reproduction studies, neural tube defects were noted following subcutaneous injection of hydromorphone to pregnant hamsters at doses 6.4 times the HDD and soft tissue and skeletal abnormalities were noted following subcutaneous continuous infusion of 3 times the HDD to pregnant mice. No malformations were noted at 4 or 40.5 times the HDD in pregnant rats or rabbits, respectively [see Data]. Based on animal data, advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus.
The estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown. All pregnancies have a background risk of birth defect, loss, or other adverse outcomes. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2–4% and 15–20%, respectively.
Fetal/Neonatal Adverse Reactions
Prolonged use of opioid analgesics during pregnancy for medical or nonmedical purposes can result in physical dependence in the neonate and neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome shortly after birth.
Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome presents as irritability, hyperactivity and abnormal sleep pattern, high pitched cry, tremor, vomiting, diarrhea, and failure to gain weight. The onset, duration, and severity of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome vary based on the specific opioid used, duration of use, timing and amount of last maternal use, and rate of elimination of the drug by the newborn. Observe newborns for symptoms of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and manage accordingly [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].
Labor or Delivery
Opioids cross the placenta and may produce respiratory depression and psycho-physiologic effects in neonates. An opioid antagonist, such as naloxone, must be available for reversal of opioid-induced respiratory depression in the neonate. Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection is not recommended for use in pregnant women during or immediately prior to labor, when other analgesic techniques are more appropriate. Opioid analgesics, including Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection, can prolong labor through actions which temporarily reduce the strength, duration, and frequency of uterine contractions. However, this effect is not consistent and may be offset by an increased rate of cervical dilation, which tends to shorten labor. Monitor neonates exposed to opioid analgesics during labor for signs of excess sedation and respiratory depression.
No effects on teratogenicity or embryotoxicity were observed in pregnant rats given oral doses up to 7 mg/kg/day which is 3-fold higher than the human dose of 24 mg Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection (4 mg every 4 hours), on a body surface area basis.
In a published study, neural tube defects (exencephaly and cranioschisis) were noted following subcutaneous administration of hydromorphone hydrochloride (19 to 258 mg/kg) on Gestation Day 8 to pregnant hamsters (6.4 to 87.2 times the HDD of 24 mg/day based on body surface area). The findings cannot be clearly attributed to maternal toxicity. No neural tube defects were noted at 14 mg/kg (4.7 times the human daily dose of 24 mg/day).
In a published study, CF-1 mice were treated subcutaneously with continuous infusion of 7.5, 15, or 30 mg/kg/day hydromorphone hydrochloride (1.5, 3, or 6.1 times the human daily dose of 24 mg based on body surface area) via implanted osmotic pumps during organogenesis (Gestation Days 7 to 10). Soft tissue malformations (cryptorchidism, cleft palate, malformed ventricles and retina), and skeletal variations (split supraoccipital, checkerboard and split sternebrae, delayed ossification of the paws and ectopic ossification sites) were observed at doses 3 times the human dose of 24 mg/day based on body surface area. The findings cannot be clearly attributed to maternal toxicity.
Low levels of opioid analgesics have been detected in human milk. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother's clinical need for Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection or from the underlying maternal condition.
Monitor infants exposed to Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection through breast milk for excess sedation and respiratory depression. Withdrawal symptoms can occur in breastfed infants when maternal administration of hydromorphoneis stopped, or when breast-feeding is stopped.
Chronic use of opioids may cause reduced fertility in females and males of reproductive potential. It is not known whether these effects on fertility are reversible [see Adverse Reactions (6), Clinical Pharmacology (12.2)].
Risks Specific to Abuse of Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection
Abuse of Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection poses a risk of overdose and death. The risk is increased with concurrent use of Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection with alcohol and other central nervous system depressants.
Parenteral drug abuse is commonly associated with transmission of infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.
Acute overdose with Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection can be manifested by respiratory depression, somnolence progressing to stupor or coma, skeletal muscle flaccidity, cold and clammy skin, constricted pupils, and, in some cases, pulmonary edema, bradycardia, hypotension, partial or complete airway obstruction, atypical snoring, and death. Marked mydriasis rather than miosis may be seen with hypoxia in overdose situations [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.2)].
Treatment of Overdose
In case of overdose, priorities are the reestablishment of a patent and protected airway and institution of assisted or controlled ventilation, if needed. Employ other supportive measures (including oxygen and vasopressors) in the management of circulatory shock and pulmonary edema as indicated. Cardiac arrest or arrhythmias will require advanced life-support techniques.
The opioid antagonists, naloxone or nalmefene, are specific antidotes to respiratory depression resulting from opioid overdose. For clinically significant respiratory or circulatory depression secondary to hydromorphone overdose, administer an opioid antagonist. Opioid antagonists should not be administered in the absence of clinically significant respiratory or circulatory depression secondary to hydromorphone overdose.
Because the duration of opioid reversal is expected to be less than the duration of action of hydromorphone in Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection, carefully monitor the patient until spontaneous respiration is reliably reestablished. If the response to an opioid antagonist is suboptimal or only brief in nature, administer additional antagonist as directed by the product's prescribing information.
In an individual physically dependent on opioids, administration of the recommended usual dosage of the antagonist will precipitate an acute withdrawal syndrome. The severity of the withdrawal symptoms experienced will depend on the degree of physical dependence and the dose of the antagonist administered. If a decision is made to treat serious respiratory depression in the physically dependent patient, administration of the antagonist should be initiated with care and by titration with smaller than usual doses of the antagonist.
Effects on the Central Nervous System
Hydromorphone 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 both increases in carbon dioxide tension and electrical stimulation.
Hydromorphone 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 and Other Smooth Muscle
Hydromorphone 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.
Effects on the Cardiovascular System
Hydromorphone 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.
Effects on the Endocrine System
Opioids inhibit the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), cortisol, and luteinizing hormone (LH) in humans [see Adverse Reactions (6)]. They also stimulate prolactin, growth hormone (GH) secretion, and pancreatic secretion of insulin and glucagon [see Adverse Reactions (6)].
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 (6)].
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.
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 hydromorphone 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 (2.1)].
Concentration–Adverse Reaction Relationships
There is a relationship between increasing hydromorphone 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 (2.1, 2.2)].
At therapeutic plasma levels, hydromorphone is approximately 8–19% bound to plasma proteins. After an intravenous bolus dose, the steady state of volume of distribution [mean (%cv)] is 302.9 (32%) liters.
The systemic clearance is approximately 1.96 (20%) liters/minute. The terminal elimination half-life of hydromorphone after an intravenous dose is about 2.3 hours.
Hydromorphone is extensively metabolized via glucuronidation in the liver, with greater than 95% of the dose metabolized to hydromorphone-3-glucuronide along with minor amounts of 6-hydroxy reduction metabolites.
Only a small amount of the hydromorphone dose is excreted unchanged in the urine. Most of the dose is excreted as hydromorphone-3-glucuronide along with minor amounts of 6-hydroxy reduction metabolites.
After oral administration of hydromorphone at a single 4 mg dose (2 mg hydromorphone immediate-release tablets), mean exposure to hydromorphone (Cmax and AUC∞) is increased 4 fold in patients with moderate (Child-Pugh Group B) hepatic impairment compared with subjects with normal hepatic function. Patients with moderate hepatic impairment should be started at one fourth to one half the recommended starting dose and closely monitored during dose titration. The pharmacokinetics of hydromorphone in patients with severe hepatic impairment has not been studied. A further increase in Cmax and AUC of hydromorphone in this group is expected and should be taken into consideration when selecting a starting dose [see Use in Specific Populations (8.6)].
The pharmacokinetics of hydromorphone following an oral administration of hydromorphone at a single 4 mg dose (2 mg hydromorphone immediate-release tablets) are affected by renal impairment. Mean exposure to hydromorphone (Cmax and AUC0–∞) is increased by 2 fold in patients with moderate (CLcr = 40 – 60 mL/min) renal impairment and increased by 4 fold in patients with severe (CLcr < 30 mL/min) renal impairment compared with normal subjects (CLcr > 80 mL/min). In addition, in patients with severe renal impairment, hydromorphone appeared to be more slowly eliminated with a longer terminal elimination half-life (40 hr) compared to patients with normal renal function (15 hr). Start patients with renal impairment on one-fourth to one-half the usual starting dose depending on the degree of impairment. Patients with renal impairment should be closely monitored during dose titration [see Use in Specific Populations (8.7)].
Age: Geriatric Population
In the geriatric population, age has no effect on the pharmacokinetics of hydromorphone.
Sex has little effect on the pharmacokinetics of hydromorphone. Females appear to have a higher Cmax (25%) than males with comparable AUC0–24 values. The difference observed in Cmax may not be clinically relevant.
Long-term studies in animals to evaluate the carcinogenic potential of hydromorphone have not been conducted.
Hydromorphone was not mutagenic in the in vitro bacterial reverse mutation assay (Ames assay). Hydromorphone was not clastogenic in either the in vitro human lymphocyte chromosome aberration assay or the in vivo mouse micronucleus assay.
Impairment of Fertility
No effects on fertility, reproductive performance, or reproductive organ morphology were observed in male or female rats given oral doses up to 7 mg/kg/day which is 2.8 times the human dose of 24 mg hydromorphone hydrochloride injection (4 mg every 4 hours), on a body surface area basis.
|Unit of Sale||Concentration|
(per total volume)
Clamshell of 10
0.5 mL fill in 1.5 mL NexJect™ Single-dose Prefilled Syringe with Luer Lock
|0.5 mg/0.5 mL|
Clamshell of 10
1 mL fill in 1.5 mL NexJect™ Single-dose Prefilled Syringe with Luer Lock
Clamshell of 10
1 mL fill in 1.5 mL NexJect™ Single-dose Prefilled Syringe with Luer Lock
Clamshell of 10
1 mL fill in 1.5 mL NexJect™ Single-dose Prefilled Syringe with Luer Lock
Inform patients that opioids could cause a rare but potentially life-threatening condition resulting from concomitant administration of serotonergic drugs. Warn patients of the symptoms of serotonin syndrome and to seek medical attention right away if symptoms develop. Instruct patients to inform their physicians if they are taking, or plan to take serotonergic medications. [see Drug Interactions 7].
Advise patients of the potential for severe constipation, including management instructions and when to seek medical attention [see Adverse Reactions (6)].
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