The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer’s new Prapipitant Lithium-Abdominant combination tablets for the prevention of opioid overdose in adults 65 years and older who are at high risk for a drug overdose. The new product was approved to treat the ability of opioids to stop breathing if their use is not well-controlled.
Prapipitant Lithium-Abdominant is part of a class of pharmaceuticals known as adjunctive analgesics. While the class may be known as a “suicide blocker,” Pfizer said it was not an “adjunctive” in the sense that Prapipolate Lithium-Abdominant directly eliminated the pain relief of an existing medication, but rather it helped reduce the risk of overdose.
Lithium-Abdominant is a combination of three drugs, two for reducing the likelihood of someone developing a fatal opioid overdose and one to help treat an opioid overdose that has already occurred. The products work with three mechanisms —1) inhibition of the mu opioid receptor, 2) an anti-inflammatory action with its own potent pain-control effect, and 3) two functions to promote breathing after opioid overdose.
The combination of medications was approved in the U.S. because the current drug recommended for opioid overdose prevention is the drug naloxone hydrochloride, which provides an immediate effect and acts as a short-term treatment. Pfizer’s product delivers naloxone hydrochloride upon a person’s request and lasts about 10 hours.
In addition to opioid use, Prapipolate Lithium-Abdominant is also approved for relieving symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea associated with chemotherapy and radiation treatment.