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News Release

News Release

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Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Aetna, and the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Join Together in a Program to Reduce Opioid Exposure for Patients Undergoing Wisdom Tooth Extraction

The national program aims to reduce the volume of opioids prescribed following wisdom tooth extraction by 50 percent

PARSIPPANY, N.J., Sept. 13, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PCRX), today announced a collaboration with Aetna, one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, with the support of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), on a national program aimed at reducing the number of opioid tablets prescribed to patients undergoing impacted third molar (wisdom tooth) extractions by at least 50 percent through the utilization of EXPAREL® (bupivacaine liposome injectable suspension) to provide prolonged non-opioid postsurgical pain control.

Aetna will reimburse oral surgeons enrolled in the program for their use of EXPAREL in impacted third molar extraction cases performed once the surgeons have completed training on use of the product. 

“In collaborating with AAOMS and Pacira, Aetna aims to take opioids out of the medicine cabinet and provide an effective non-opioid pain management alternative for our members undergoing oral surgery,” said Dr. Harold L. Paz, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Aetna.

According to a recent JAMA Surgery study, more than two-thirds of postsurgical patients report unused prescription opioids—and the majority indicate that these medications are neither safely stored nor disposed of—suggesting a dangerous accumulation of opioids in the home, which are available for potential diversion or misuse.1

“In light of our nation’s opioid epidemic, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons is committed to the safe and responsible prescribing of opioids for acute and postsurgical pain control,” said Douglas W. Fain, DDS, MD, FACS, President of AAOMS. “We are pleased to see additional support for the use of non-opioid options like EXPAREL to provide oral surgery patients with long-lasting postsurgical pain control while reducing their need for high volumes of opioids.”

Following a successful demonstration of opioid reduction among enrolled oral surgeons, Aetna and Pacira will consider expanding the use of EXPAREL in similar programs across other surgical procedures as appropriate.

1. JAMA Surg.  Published online August 2, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.0831

About Pacira                                                                           
Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PCRX) is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the clinical and commercial development of new products that meet the needs of acute care practitioners and their patients. The company’s flagship product, EXPAREL® (bupivacaine liposome injectable suspension), indicated for single-dose infiltration into the surgical site to produce postsurgical analgesia, was commercially launched in the United States in April 2012. EXPAREL and two other products have successfully utilized DepoFoam®, a unique and proprietary product delivery technology that encapsulates drugs without altering their molecular structure, and releases them over a desired period of time. Additional information about Pacira is available at

EXPAREL (bupivacaine liposome injectable suspension) is currently indicated for single-dose infiltration into the surgical site to produce postsurgical analgesia. The product combines bupivacaine with DepoFoam®, a proven product delivery technology that delivers medication over a desired period of time. EXPAREL represents the first and only multivesicular liposome local anesthetic that can be utilized in the peri- or postsurgical setting. By utilizing the DepoFoam platform, a single dose of EXPAREL delivers bupivacaine over time, providing significant reductions in cumulative pain score with up to a 45 percent decrease in opioid consumption; the clinical benefit of the opioid reduction was not demonstrated. Additional information is available at

Important Safety Information
EXPAREL is contraindicated in obstetrical paracervical block anesthesia. EXPAREL has not been studied for use in patients younger than 18 years of age. Non-bupivacaine-based local anesthetics, including lidocaine, may cause an immediate release of bupivacaine from EXPAREL if administered together locally. The administration of EXPAREL may follow the administration of lidocaine after a delay of 20 minutes or more. Other formulations of bupivacaine should not be administered within 96 hours following administration of EXPAREL. Monitoring of cardiovascular and neurological status, as well as vital signs should be performed during and after injection of EXPAREL as with other local anesthetic products. Because amide-type local anesthetics, such as bupivacaine, are metabolized by the liver, EXPAREL should be used cautiously in patients with hepatic disease. Patients with severe hepatic disease, because of their inability to metabolize local anesthetics normally, are at a greater risk of developing toxic plasma concentrations. In clinical trials, the most common adverse reactions (incidence greater-than or equal to 10%) following EXPAREL administration were nausea, constipation, and vomiting.

Please see the full Prescribing Information for more details available at:

The experts in face, mouth and jaw surgery®The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) is the professional organization representing more than 11,000 oral and maxillofacial surgeons, OMS residents and OMS professional staff in the United States. AAOMS supports its fellows’ and members’ ability to practice their specialty through education, research and advocacy. AAOMS fellows and members comply with rigorous continuing education requirements and submit to periodic office anesthesia evaluations. For additional information about oral and maxillofacial surgery, visit the AAOMS websites at and

Media Contacts:
Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc.Susan Mesco, (908) 391-8283

Coyne Public Relations
Alyssa Schneider, (973) 588-2270

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