A Nashville-based pharmaceutical company is trying to get more hospitals to use its product in place of opioids. Cumberland Pharmaceuticals is also launching an awareness campaign so doctors know injectable ibuprofen exists.
The key, the company says, is simplification.
For a decade, Cumberland Pharmaceuticals has had the only IV ibuprofen on the market. It’s called Caldolor. But even as regulators and hospitals have talked about curbing the use of opioids, the company says doctors still aren’t reaching for their IV formulation, which many still don’t know about.
“Surprisingly, they don’t,” says Cumberland Pharmaceuticals founder and CEO A.J. Kazimi. “We’re also focusing on the opioid crisis and how we can help.”
IV ibuprofen is less powerful for pain control but non addictive and is approved for use in tandem with opioids to cut down on the dosage of narcotics. Clinical trials reported a 58% reduction in opioid use with Caldolor.
To get the word out, Cumberland Pharmaceuticals has produced webinars for continuing education and partnered with the largest physician staffing firms in the nation, Nashville-based Envision and Knoxville-based TeamHealth.
The ready-to-use IV bag, which required additional FDA approval, was meant to make using the drug as easy as possible. That way hospital staffers can just grab it off the shelf.
“It may not sound like a big innovation, but what we find is that that step and the cost associated with preparation have been a barrier to the product’s use,” Kazimi says.
Until now, Caldolor has been shipped in a vial and required dilution before use.
Kazimi says one obstacle to the ready-mix bag was making sure the plastic didn’t contaminate the medication during transit and storage. The drug is manufactured in Europe and shipped to the U.S.