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Exalgo to hit shelves this week

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ST. LOUIS The only extended-release formulation of a common opiate painkiller available in the United States hit the shelves this week.

Healthcare products manufacturer Covidien announced the launch of Exalgo (hydromorphone hydrochloride) Monday. The drug is designed to provide all-day pain relief to patients who have developed a tolerance for opiates. The Food and Drug Administration approved Exalgo on March 1.

“As the largest supplier of generic controlled pain medications in the United States, based on number of prescriptions, Covidien is focused on providing patients with access to advanced medications that expand the limits of pain therapy by combining proven drugs with innovative delivery systems,” Covidien president for pharmaceuticals Timothy Wright said in a statement. “With the launch of Exalgo tablets, opioid-tolerant chronic pain patients will be given the option to take one dose each day that provides 24 hours of pain relief and keeps pain waiting.”

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