Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:PCRX) Launches Exparel As Opioid Alternative In Pain Management

Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:PCRX) has announced the launch of its pain control drug Exparel. The company said that Exparel is a better alternative to opioid-based drugs used in post-surgical pain relief.

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As a local analgesic, Pacira said Exparel suits the needs of oral surgical procedures, especially in patients undergoing tooth extraction. The launch of Exparel coincided with the release of new data about the benefits of the drug in the targeted patient population.

Avoiding early exposure to opioid

Other than efficacy, the reason Pacira thinks Exparel is a better alternative to opioid drug in pain control is that it targets the population of patients that reports have shown have the highest opioid abuse rates. The company cites that a study recently published in the JAMA journal revealed that patients aged 14 to 24 years are prescribed opioid drugs to control pain after tooth extraction surgery.

Perhaps that explains why government reports have shown that opioid abuse rates are highest among people aged 18 to 25 years considering that a large number of them get exposed to opioids for the first time during tooth extraction procedures.

Pacira says that caregivers and parents can have the peace of mind that they are not exposing the young patients to drugs that can turn them into addicts later in life. Exparel is billed as effective in providing long-lasting pain relief while avoiding the negative side effects of opioids that have widely been used for pain control.

Better than placebo, safer than an opioid

In a double-blind, placebo controlled study of Exparel, the drug significantly outperformed the placebo group. The primary endpoint called for significant reduction in pain score at 48 hours and that target was easily met. In any case, Exparel was able to lower pain significantly compared to placebo at 24 hours. Coming to adverse events, no difference was observed between the patients who took Exparel and those on placebo.


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