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      A comparison between the administration of oral prolonged-release oxycodone-naloxone and transdermal fentanyl in patients with moderate-to-severe cancer pain: a propensity score analysis

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          Opioids are the most important pharmacological treatment for moderate-to-severe cancer pain, but side effects limit their use. Transdermal fentanyl (TDF) and oral prolonged-release oxycodone-naloxone (OXN-PR) are effective in controlling chronic pain, with less constipation compared to other opioids. However, TDF and OXN-PR have never been directly compared.

          Patients and methods

          Cancer patients with moderate-to-severe chronic pain were consecutively enrolled in two prospective 28-day trials, received either TDF or OXN-PR, and were assessed at baseline and after 7, 14, 21, and 28 days. The primary endpoint was 28-day analgesic response rate (average pain intensity decrease ≥30% from baseline). Other outcome measures included opioid daily dose changes over time; need for adjuvant analgesics; number of switches; premature discontinuation; presence and severity of constipation; and other adverse drug reactions. To compare the efficacy and the safety of TDF and OXN-PR, we used the propensity score analysis to adjust for heterogeneity between the two patient groups.


          Three hundred ten out of 336 patients originally treated (119 TDF and 191 OXN-PR) were included in the comparative analysis. The amount of responders was comparable after TDF (75.3%) and OXN-PR administration (82.9%, not significant [NS]). The final opioid daily dose expressed as morphine equivalent was 113.6 mg for TDF and 44.5 mg for OXN-PR ( p<0.0001). A daily opioid dose escalation >5% was less common after OXN-PR (19.3%) than after TDS administration (37.9%, p<0.0001). Opioid switches and discontinuation were similar in both groups. Severe constipation in the two groups was comparable (32.6% after TDF vs 24.7% after OXN-PR, NS). Nausea, vomiting, and dry mouth were significantly less frequent in the OXN-PR group than in the TDF group.


          Despite a similar analgesic activity in moderate-to-severe cancer pain, OXN-PR is characterized by lower daily dosages, less need for drug escalation, and fewer side effects compared to TDF.

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          Most cited references 27

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          Use of opioid analgesics in the treatment of cancer pain: evidence-based recommendations from the EAPC.

          Here we provide the updated version of the guidelines of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) on the use of opioids for the treatment of cancer pain. The update was undertaken by the European Palliative Care Research Collaborative. Previous EAPC guidelines were reviewed and compared with other currently available guidelines, and consensus recommendations were created by formal international expert panel. The content of the guidelines was defined according to several topics, each of which was assigned to collaborators who developed systematic literature reviews with a common methodology. The recommendations were developed by a writing committee that combined the evidence derived from the systematic reviews with the panellists' evaluations in a co-authored process, and were endorsed by the EAPC Board of Directors. The guidelines are presented as a list of 16 evidence-based recommendations developed according to the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation system. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Management of cancer pain: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines.

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              The management of cancer-related breakthrough pain: recommendations of a task group of the Science Committee of the Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland.

              A task group of the Science Committee of the Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland (APM) was convened to produce some up-to-date, evidence-based, practical, clinical guidelines on the management of cancer-related breakthrough pain in adults. On the basis of a review of the literature, the task group was unable to make recommendations about any individual interventions, but was able to make a series of 12 recommendations about certain generic strategies. However, most of the aforementioned recommendations are based on limited evidence (i.e., case series, expert opinion). The task group also proposed a definition of breakthrough pain, and some diagnostic criteria for breakthrough pain.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                04 September 2017
                : 10
                : 2123-2133
                [1 ]Pain and Palliative Care Research Unit, Oncology Department, IRCCS-Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Milan, Italy
                [2 ]Department of Clinical Sciences and Community, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
                [3 ]Methodology for Clinical Research Laboratory, Oncology Department, IRCCS-Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Milan, Italy
                [4 ]Scientific Medical Communication srl, Novara, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Maria Teresa Greco, Department of Clinical Sciences and Community, University of Milan, Via Francesco Sforza 35–20,122 Milan, Italy, Tel +39 023 901 4648, Email mtgrc@ 123456yahoo.it
                © 2017 Roberto et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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