DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
Healthcare professionals who prescribe ACTIQ on an outpatient basis must enroll in the TIRF REMS Access program and comply with the requirements of the REMS to ensure safe use of ACTIQ
[see Warnings and Precautions]
As with all opioids, the safety of patients using such products is dependent on health care professionals prescribing them in strict conformity with their approved labeling with respect to patient selection, dosing, and proper conditions for use.
Individually titrate ACTIQ to a dose that provides adequate analgesia and minimizes side effects. The initial dose of ACTIQ to treat episodes of breakthrough cancer pain is always 200 mcg. The ACTIQ unit should be consumed over 15 minutes. Patients should be prescribed an initial titration supply of six 200 mcg ACTIQ units, thus limiting the number of units in the home during titration. Patients should use up all units before increasing to a higher dose to prevent confusion and possible overdose.
From this initial dose, closely follow patients and change the dosage level until the patient reaches a dose that provides adequate analgesia using a single ACTIQ dosage unit per breakthrough cancer pain episode. If signs of excessive opioid effects appear before the unit is consumed, the dosage unit should be removed from the patient’s mouth immediately, disposed of properly, and subsequent doses should be decreased. Patients should record their use of ACTIQ over several episodes of breakthrough cancer pain and review their experience with their physicians to determine if a dosage adjustment is warranted.
In cases where the breakthrough pain episode is not relieved 15 minutes after completion of the ACTIQ unit (30 minutes after the start of the unit), patients may take ONLY ONE additional dose of the same strength for that episode. Thus, patients should take a maximum of two doses of ACTIQ for any breakthrough pain episode.
Patients must wait at least 4 hours before treating another episode of breakthrough pain with ACTIQ. To reduce the risk of overdosing during titration, patients should have only one strength of ACTIQ available at any one time.
ACTIQ Titration Process
See Boxed Warning
*Available dosage strengths include: 200, 400, 600, 800, 1200, and 1600 mcg.
Once titrated to an effective dose, patients should generally use ONLY ONE ACTIQ unit of the appropriate strength per breakthrough pain episode.
On those occasions when the breakthrough pain episode is not relieved 15 minutes after completion of the ACTIQ unit, patient may take ONLY ONE additional dose using the same strength for that episode.
Patients MUST wait at least 4 hours before treating another episode of breakthrough pain with ACTIQ. Once a successful dose has been found (i.e., an average episode is treated with a single unit), patients should limit consumption to four or fewer units per day.
Dosage adjustment of ACTIQ may be required in some patients in order to continue to provide adequate relief of breakthrough pain.
Generally, the ACTIQ dose should be increased only when a single administration of the current dose fails to adequately treat the breakthrough pain episode for several consecutive episodes.
If the patient experiences greater than four breakthrough pain episodes per day, the dose of the maintenance (around-the-clock) opioid used for persistent pain should be re-evaluated.
Administration of ACTIQ
Open the blister package with scissors immediately prior to product use. The patient should place the ACTIQ unit in his or her mouth between the cheek and lower gum, occasionally moving the drug matrix from one side to the other using the handle. The ACTIQ unit should be sucked, not chewed. A unit dose of ACTIQ, if chewed and swallowed, might result in lower peak concentrations and lower bioavailability than when consumed as directed [see Clinical Pharmacology ].
The ACTIQ unit should be consumed over a 15-minute period. Longer or shorter consumption times may produce less efficacy than reported in ACTIQ clinical trials. If signs of excessive opioid effects appear before the unit is consumed, remove the drug matrix from the patient’s mouth immediately and decrease future doses.
Discontinuation of ACTIQ
For patients requiring discontinuation of opioids, a gradual downward titration is recommended because it is not known at what dose level the opioid may be discontinued without producing the signs and symptoms of abrupt withdrawal.
DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS
Each dosage unit has white to off-white color and is a solid drug matrix on a handle. Each strength is marked on the individual solid drug matrix and the handle tag. ACTIQ is available in 200 mcg, 400 mcg, 600 mcg, 800 mcg, 1200 mcg and 1600 mcg strengths
[see How Supplied/Storage and Handling].