About DepoFoam®

Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc., makers of EXPAREL®, own the proven product delivery technology, DepoFoam. DepoFoam has been used safely in two other products, and has a demonstrated safety record and history of regulatory approvals in the United States, Europe, and several other countries around the world.

DepoFoam® Bupivacaine Delivery

How it works

The DepoFoam carrier matrix is made up of microscopic, polyhedral particles composed of numerous, non-concentric, internal aqueous chambers that encapsulate drugs without altering their molecular structure and then release them over a desired period of time. Each chamber is separated from adjacent chambers by lipid membranes. Following injection, the DepoFoam particles release medication over time due to erosion and/or reorganization of the lipid membranes.

DepoFoam-based drugs are formulated as ready-to-use, aqueous suspensions allowing for simple injection through needles with a bore size as narrow as 25 gauge.

Cutting-edge technology sets EXPAREL apart

With a unique drug delivery system, EXPAREL is designed to extend postsurgical analgesia

  • EXPAREL is indicated for administration into the surgical site to produce postsurgical analgesia
  • DepoFoam uniquely delivers bupivacaine over time to extend pharmacologic effect1,2
    • Encapsulates bupivacaine via a multivesicular liposomal drug delivery technology
    • Releases bupivacaine over time as lipid membranes reorganize
DepoFoam Technology Extends Pharmacokinetics

Reliable release of a low dose of bupivacaine over time1,2

  • Provides long-lasting postsurgical pain control during the first few days after surgery, when most patients report moderate, severe, or extreme pain3,4
  • Eliminates the need for titration with a single dose
  • Eliminates the need for external devices to prolong analgesia
  • Designed to be different from non-liposomal bupivacaine
    • Different formulations of bupivacaine are not bioequivalent even if the milligram dosage is the same

Formulations of bupivacaine other than EXPAREL should not be administered within 96 hours following administration of EXPAREL.

Video about DepoFoam®

Watch this short animation to see how DepoFoam works.


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Important Notice

This site is for informational purposes only and is intended to address medical questions from healthcare professionals in the United States.

To report an adverse event, e-mail drugsafety@pacira.com or dial 1-855-RX-EXPAREL (1-855-793-9727).

For medical inquiries related to EXPAREL, submit a request to Medical Information or call 1-855-RX-EXPAREL (1-855-793-9727).

These are not all of the potential important safety considerations for EXPAREL; please see the full Prescribing Information.


  1. How DepoFoam® works. Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. website. http://www.pacira.com/depofoam-platform/how-it-works.php. Accessed May 26, 2016.
  2. Data on file. Parsippany, NJ: Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; May 2016.
  3. Beauregard L, Pomp A, Choinère M. Severity and impact of pain after day-surgery. Can J Anaesth.1998;45(4):304-311.
  4. Gorfine SR, Onel E, Patou G, Krivokapic ZV. Bupivacaine extended-release liposome injection for prolonged postsurgical analgesia in patients undergoing hemorrhoidectomy: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Dis Colon Rectum. 2011;54(12):1552-1559.

Important Safety Information

Warnings and Precautions Specific to EXPAREL

Warnings and Precautions for Bupivacaine-Containing Products

Please refer to full Prescribing Information.

Important Safety Information

Medical Information

US healthcare professionals Click Here

Non-US healthcare professionals can submit a request to medinfo@pacira.com

If you are not a healthcare professional, please discuss any questions you have regarding your health or treatment with your physician, pharmacist, nurse, or other healthcare professional.

Important information about EXPAREL®

The FDA confirms that EXPAREL has always been approved for "administration into the surgical site to produce postsurgical analgesia" for use in a variety of surgeries not limited to those studied in its pivotal trials.

"We are pleased to announce a successful collaboration with the FDA to resolve this matter in an expeditious and meaningful way that allows us to get back to the important task at hand—reducing postsurgical opioid exposure by providing a non-opioid option like EXPAREL to as many patients as appropriate."

- Dave Stack, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Pacira

The clinical benefit of the decrease in opioid consumption was not demonstrated in the pivotal trials.

Important Safety Information

  • EXPAREL is contraindicated in obstetrical paracervical block anesthesia
  • In clinical trials, the most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥10%) following EXPAREL administration were nausea, constipation, and vomiting
  • EXPAREL is not recommended to be used in the following patient population: patients <18 years old and/or pregnant patients
  • 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

Warnings and Precautions Specific to EXPAREL

  • EXPAREL is not recommended for the following types or routes of administration: epidural, intrathecal, regional nerve blocks, or intravascular or intra-articular use
  • 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. Formulations of bupivacaine other than EXPAREL should not be administered within 96 hours following administration of EXPAREL

Warnings and Precautions for Bupivacaine-Containing Products

  • Central Nervous System (CNS) Reactions: There have been reports of adverse neurologic reactions with the use of local anesthetics. These include persistent anesthesia and paresthesias. CNS reactions are characterized by excitation and/or depression
  • Cardiovascular System Reactions: Toxic blood concentrations depress cardiac conductivity and excitability which may lead to dysrhythmias sometimes leading to death
  • Allergic Reactions: Allergic-type reactions (eg, anaphylaxis and angioedema) are rare and may occur as a result of hypersensitivity to the local anesthetic or to other formulation ingredients
  • Chondrolysis: There have been reports of chondrolysis (mostly in the shoulder joint) following intra-articular infusion of local anesthetics, which is an unapproved use

Please refer to full Prescribing Information.


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