If you are not accustomed to taking opioid medications, you should not take the 45 mg, 60 mg, 75 mg, 90 mg, or 120 mg Avinza capsules, as they contain too much morphine.
The maximum daily dose of Avinza is 1600 mg per day. Avinza capsules contain fumaric acid, and taking more than 1600 mg per day can cause kidney damage due to fumaric acid toxicity.
Your healthcare provider may also recommend a "rescue" medication (a short-acting painkiller) to use in addition to Avinza for times when your pain is especially severe (known as "breakthrough pain," since it breaks through your baseline, long-acting painkiller).
Considerations for people taking Avinza include the following:
- The medication comes in capsule form. It is taken by mouth once a day (every 24 hours). It is not meant to be taken on an "as needed" basis (at unscheduled times and only when needed for pain).
- Never crush, chew, or dissolve the capsules (or the beads inside the capsules), as this would release a dangerous amount of morphine. It is also dangerous to inject this medication, as it contains inactive ingredients that can cause damage when injected directly into the bloodstream.
- You cannot drink alcohol (or even take medications or eat foods that contain alcohol) while taking Avinza, as alcohol can cause the beads to release morphine too quickly. This may result in an overdose.
- You can take the medication with food or on an empty stomach. If it bothers your stomach, try taking the capsules with food.
- Most people swallow the capsules whole. However, if you have difficulty swallowing, your healthcare provider may recommend taking it with applesauce. To do this, open the capsule and sprinkle the beads on a small amount of room temperature (or colder) applesauce. Swallow the applesauce immediately and completely, without chewing. Rinse your mouth and swallow to make sure there are no beads remaining in your mouth.
- For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Do not increase your dose without your healthcare provider's approval. Do not suddenly stop taking Avinza, especially if you have taken it regularly for more than several weeks (see Avinza Withdrawal).
- If you are unsure about anything related to your Avinza dosage, please talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. Do not stop taking the drug without first discussing it with your healthcare provider.