FORM 4
[ ] Check this box if no longer subject to Section 16. Form 4 or Form 5 obligations may continue. See Instruction 1(b).         
UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549

STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP OF SECURITIES
                                                                                  
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Filed pursuant to Section 16(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 or Section 30(h) of the Investment Company Act of 1940
                      

1. Name and Address of Reporting Person *

CLEMENS PETER A
2. Issuer Name and Ticker or Trading Symbol

ACURA PHARMACEUTICALS, INC [ ACUR ]
5. Relationship of Reporting Person(s) to Issuer (Check all applicable)

_____ Director                      _____ 10% Owner
__ X __ Officer (give title below)      _____ Other (specify below)
Senior VP & CFO
(Last)          (First)          (Middle)

C/O ACURA PHARMACEUTICALS, INC., 616 N. NORTH COURT SUITE 120
3. Date of Earliest Transaction (MM/DD/YYYY)

12/11/2018
(Street)

PALATINE, IL 60067
(City)        (State)        (Zip)
4. If Amendment, Date Original Filed (MM/DD/YYYY)

 
6. Individual or Joint/Group Filing (Check Applicable Line)

_ X _ Form filed by One Reporting Person
___ Form filed by More than One Reporting Person

Table I - Non-Derivative Securities Acquired, Disposed of, or Beneficially Owned
1.Title of Security
(Instr. 3)
2. Trans. Date 2A. Deemed Execution Date, if any 3. Trans. Code
(Instr. 8)
4. Securities Acquired (A) or Disposed of (D)
(Instr. 3, 4 and 5)
5. Amount of Securities Beneficially Owned Following Reported Transaction(s)
(Instr. 3 and 4)
6. Ownership Form: Direct (D) or Indirect (I) (Instr. 4) 7. Nature of Indirect Beneficial Ownership (Instr. 4)
Code V Amount (A) or (D) Price

Table II - Derivative Securities Beneficially Owned ( e.g. , puts, calls, warrants, options, convertible securities)
1. Title of Derivate Security
(Instr. 3)
2. Conversion or Exercise Price of Derivative Security 3. Trans. Date 3A. Deemed Execution Date, if any 4. Trans. Code
(Instr. 8)
5. Number of Derivative Securities Acquired (A) or Disposed of (D)
(Instr. 3, 4 and 5)
6. Date Exercisable and Expiration Date 7. Title and Amount of Securities Underlying Derivative Security
(Instr. 3 and 4)
8. Price of Derivative Security
(Instr. 5)
9. Number of derivative Securities Beneficially Owned Following Reported Transaction(s) (Instr. 4) 10. Ownership Form of Derivative Security: Direct (D) or Indirect (I) (Instr. 4) 11. Nature of Indirect Beneficial Ownership (Instr. 4)
Code V (A) (D) Date Exercisable Expiration Date Title Amount or Number of Shares
Restricted Stock Unit   (1) $0.01   (2) 12/11/2018     A      120000         (3)   (3) Common Stock   120000     (4) 120000   D    
Stock Option   (5) $0.151   (6) 12/11/2018     A      40000       12/11/2019   (7) 12/11/2023   Common Stock   40000     (4) 40000   D    

Explanation of Responses:
(1)  Awarded under the Acura Pharmaceuticals Inc. 2017 Restricted Stock Unit Award Plan (the "Plan").
(2)  Par value of $.01 must be paid by Reporting Person upon exchange of Restricted Stock Units for stock.
(3)  100% of Restricted Stock Units vest on December 11, 2019 or earlier if Reporting Person's service as an employee of Issuer is terminated by Issuer without Cause (as defined in the Plan) or due to Reporting Person's death or Disability (as defined in the Plan) or a qualifying change of control occurs. Distributions in respect of vested Restricted Stock Units will be made in three equal installments on the first business day of each of January 2021, 2022, and 2023 or earlier upon a qualifying change of control which also meets certain criteria of Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code.
(4)  Not Applicable.
(5)  Awarded under the Acura Pharmaceuticals Inc. 2016 Stock Option Plan.
(6)  Exercise price is closing price of Issuer's common stock on December 11, 2018.
(7)  Option vesting and exercisability is accelerated upon a qualifying change of control.

Reporting Owners
Reporting Owner Name / Address
Relationships
Director 10% Owner Officer Other
CLEMENS PETER A
C/O ACURA PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.
616 N. NORTH COURT SUITE 120
PALATINE, IL 60067


Senior VP & CFO

Signatures
/s/ Peter A. Clemens 12/17/2018
** Signature of Reporting Person Date


Reminder: Report on a separate line for each class of securities beneficially owned directly or indirectly.
* If the form is filed by more than one reporting person, see Instruction 4(b)(v).
** Intentional misstatements or omissions of facts constitute Federal Criminal Violations. See 18 U.S.C. 1001 and 15 U.S.C. 78ff(a).
Note: File three copies of this Form, one of which must be manually signed. If space is insufficient, see Instruction 6 for procedure.
Persons who respond to the collection of information contained in this form are not required to respond unless the form displays a currently valid OMB control number.
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