Exalgo

Generic Name: Hydromorphone

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Exalgo is a medicine used to treat moderate to severe around-the-clock pain. Exalgo is started only after you have been taking other narcotic painkillers and your body has become used to them (you are "opioid-tolerant"). Exalgo is an extended-release medicine (a type of tablet that releases medicine into your body throughout the day).

    Exalgo is a federally controlled substance because it has abuse potential.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Exalgo works in your central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and affects the way your body responds to pain. Exalgo is not used to treat pain that you only have now and then ("as needed"), or after surgery if the pain is mild or not expected to last for a long period.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What: Exalgo has been shown to help relieve pain.

    When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Exalgo exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.

    How do I know it is working?

    You may feel an improvement in your pain. This is a good indicator that the medicine is working. Your healthcare provider may also ask you questions from time to time to assess how well your symptoms are controlled with treatment.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Exalgo has abuse potential. This chance is higher if you are or have ever been addicted to or abused other medicines, street drugs, or alcohol, or if you have a history of mental problems. If you have concerns, talk to your healthcare provider for more information about abuse and addiction. Do not share Exalgo with others and take steps to protect Exalgo from theft or misuse.

    Serious, life-threatening breathing problems may occur when taking Exalgo, even when Exalgo has been taken as recommended and not misused or abused. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you are breathing more slowly than usual; are experiencing shallow breathing (little chest movement while breathing); or if you feel faint, dizzy, confused, or have any other unusual symptoms.

    Keep Exalgo in a safe place, away from children. Accidental use may result in serious harm and may be life-threatening.

    More common side effects may include: constipation, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, headache, dizziness.

    Less common side effects may include:

    Sudden fall in your blood pressure with symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting when rising too quickly from a sitting or lying position.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Exalgo if you are allergic to it, any of its ingredients, or to sulfite-containing medicines.

    Do not take Exalgo if you are not opioid-tolerant.

    Do not take Exalgo if you are having an asthma attack, or if you have severe asthma, trouble breathing, or other lung problems.

    Do not take Exalgo if you have a bowel blockage or narrowing of your stomach or intestines.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Exalgo. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have trouble breathing or lung problems; a head injury; problems urinating; mental health problems; seizures; pancreas or gallbladder problems; liver, kidney, or thyroid problems; a history of drug or alcohol addiction or a family history of these problems; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Adults: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for you based on your previous pain medication and the type and severity of your pain.

    If you have kidney or liver impairment, your healthcare provider will adjust your dose appropriately.

    It is important that you do not stop taking this medication abruptly. If you need to change or stop taking this medication, it is important that you only do this with the guidance of your healthcare provider.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Exalgo exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Exalgo without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Swallow Exalgo tablets whole. Do not cut, break, chew, crush, dissolve, or inject Exalgo. If you do not take Exalgo tablets whole, the medicine will be released into your body too fast, causing you to have trouble breathing and life-threatening effects.

    When you stop taking Exalgo, flush the remaining tablets down the toilet.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not drink alcohol or take prescription or over-the-counter medicines that contain alcohol while you are taking Exalgo.

    Do not drive a car, operate machinery, or engage in other dangerous activities until you know how Exalgo affects you.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Exalgo is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Exalgo with the following: alcohol, anticholinergic agents (such as ipratropium or oxybutynin), antidepressant medications known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) (such as phenelzine or tranylcypromine), certain pain medicines (such as buprenorphine, butorphanol, nalbuphine, or pentazocine), or other medicines that may make you sleepy (such as alprazolam, morphine, chlorpromazine).

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Exalgo during pregnancy are unknown. Exalgo can be found in your breast milk if you take it while breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed while you are taking Exalgo. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Exalgo, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule the next day. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature.

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