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      Effectiveness and gastrointestinal tolerability during conversion and titration with once-daily OROS® hydromorphone extended release in opioid-tolerant patients with chronic low back pain

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          To describe the efficacy and safety of hydromorphone extended-release tablets (OROS hydromorphone ER) during dose conversion and titration.

          Patients and methods

          A total of 459 opioid-tolerant adults with chronic moderate to severe low back pain participated in an open-label, 2- to 4-week conversion/titration phase of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized withdrawal trial, conducted at 70 centers in the United States. Patients were converted to once-daily OROS hydromorphone ER at 75% of the equianalgesic dose of their prior total daily opioid dose (5:1 conversion ratio), and titrated as frequently as every 3 days to a maximum dose of 64 mg/day. The primary outcome measure was change in pain intensity numeric rating scale; additional assessments included the Patient Global Assessment and the Roland–Morris Disability Questionnaire scores. Safety assessments were performed at each visit and consisted of recording and monitoring all adverse events (AEs) and serious AEs.


          Mean (standard deviation) final daily dose of OROS hydromorphone ER was 37.5 (17.8) mg. Mean (standard error of the mean [SEM]) numeric rating scale scores decreased from 6.6 (0.1) at screening to 4.3 (0.1) at the final titration visit (mean [SEM] change, −2.3 [0.1], representing a 34.8% reduction). Mean (SEM) change in Patient Global Assessment was −0.6 (0.1), and mean change (SEM) in the Roland–Morris Disability Questionnaire was −2.8 (0.3). Patients achieving a stable dose showed greater improvement than patients who discontinued during titration for each of these measures ( P < 0.001). Almost 80% of patients achieving a stable dose (213/268) had a ≥30% reduction in pain. Commonly reported AEs were constipation (15.4%), nausea (11.9%), somnolence (8.7%), headache (7.8%), and vomiting (6.5%); 13.0% discontinued from the study due to AEs.


          The majority of opioid-tolerant patients with chronic low back pain were successfully converted to effective doses of OROS hydromorphone ER within 2 to 4 weeks.

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          Most cited references 52

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          Clinical guidelines for the use of chronic opioid therapy in chronic noncancer pain.

          Use of chronic opioid therapy for chronic noncancer pain has increased substantially. The American Pain Society and the American Academy of Pain Medicine commissioned a systematic review of the evidence on chronic opioid therapy for chronic noncancer pain and convened a multidisciplinary expert panel to review the evidence and formulate recommendations. Although evidence is limited, the expert panel concluded that chronic opioid therapy can be an effective therapy for carefully selected and monitored patients with chronic noncancer pain. However, opioids are also associated with potentially serious harms, including opioid-related adverse effects and outcomes related to the abuse potential of opioids. The recommendations presented in this document provide guidance on patient selection and risk stratification; informed consent and opioid management plans; initiation and titration of chronic opioid therapy; use of methadone; monitoring of patients on chronic opioid therapy; dose escalations, high-dose opioid therapy, opioid rotation, and indications for discontinuation of therapy; prevention and management of opioid-related adverse effects; driving and work safety; identifying a medical home and when to obtain consultation; management of breakthrough pain; chronic opioid therapy in pregnancy; and opioid-related policies. Safe and effective chronic opioid therapy for chronic noncancer pain requires clinical skills and knowledge in both the principles of opioid prescribing and on the assessment and management of risks associated with opioid abuse, addiction, and diversion. Although evidence is limited in many areas related to use of opioids for chronic noncancer pain, this guideline provides recommendations developed by a multidisciplinary expert panel after a systematic review of the evidence.
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            Opioids in chronic non-cancer pain: systematic review of efficacy and safety.

            Opioids are used increasingly for chronic non-cancer pain. Controversy exists about their effectiveness and safety with long-term use. We analysed available randomised, placebo-controlled trials of WHO step 3 opioids for efficacy and safety in chronic non-cancer pain. The Oxford Pain Relief Database (1950-1994) and Medline, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library were searched until September 2003. Inclusion criteria were randomised comparisons of WHO step 3 opioids with placebo in chronic non-cancer pain. Double-blind studies reporting on pain intensity outcomes using validated pain scales were included. Fifteen randomised placebo-controlled trials were included. Four investigations with 120 patients studied intravenous opioid testing. Eleven studies (1025 patients) compared oral opioids with placebo for four days to eight weeks. Six of the 15 included trials had an open label follow-up of 6-24 months. The mean decrease in pain intensity in most studies was at least 30% with opioids and was comparable in neuropathic and musculoskeletal pain. About 80% of patients experienced at least one adverse event, with constipation (41%), nausea (32%) and somnolence (29%) being most common. Only 44% of 388 patients on open label treatments were still on opioids after therapy for between 7 and 24 months. The short-term efficacy of opioids was good in both neuropathic and musculoskeletal pain conditions. However, only a minority of patients in these studies went on to long-term management with opioids. The small number of selected patients and the short follow-ups do not allow conclusions concerning problems such as tolerance and addiction.
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              Opioids for chronic noncancer pain: a meta-analysis of effectiveness and side effects.

              Chronic noncancer pain (CNCP) is a major health problem, for which opioids provide one treatment option. However, evidence is needed about side effects, efficacy, and risk of misuse or addiction. This meta-analysis was carried out with these objectives: to compare the efficacy of opioids for CNCP with other drugs and placebo; to identify types of CNCP that respond better to opioids; and to determine the most common side effects of opioids. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL (up to May 2005) and reference lists for randomized controlled trials of any opioid administered by oral or transdermal routes or rectal suppositories for CNCP (defined as pain for longer than 6 mo). Extracted outcomes included pain, function or side effects. Methodological quality was assessed with the Jadad instrument; analyses were conducted with Revman 4.2.7. Included were 41 randomized trials involving 6019 patients: 80% of the patients had nociceptive pain (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or back pain); 12%, neuropathic pain (postherpetic neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy or phantom limb pain); 7%, fibromyalgia; and 1%, mixed pain. The methodological quality of 87% of the studies was high. The opioids studied were classified as weak (tramadol, propoxyphene, codeine) or strong (morphine, oxycodone). Average duration of treatment was 5 (range 1-16) weeks. Dropout rates averaged 33% in the opioid groups and 38% in the placebo groups. Opioids were more effective than placebo for both pain and functional outcomes in patients with nociceptive or neuropathic pain or fibromyalgia. Strong, but not weak, opioids were significantly superior to naproxen and nortriptyline, and only for pain relief. Among the side effects of opioids, only constipation and nausea were clinically and statistically significant. Weak and strong opioids outperformed placebo for pain and function in all types of CNCP. Other drugs produced better functional outcomes than opioids, whereas for pain relief they were outperformed only by strong opioids. Despite the relative shortness of the trials, more than one-third of the participants abandoned treatment.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                01 May 2013
                : 6
                : 319-329
                [1 ]Gold Coast Research, LLC, Weston, FL, USA
                [2 ]International Clinical Research Institute, Overland Park, KS, USA
                [3 ]MedNorthwest Clinical Research Center, Bellevue, WA, USA; Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA
                [4 ]Applied Clinical Intelligence, LLC, Bala Cynwyd, PA, USA
                Author notes

                *Affiliation at the time this work was completed. Michael Kutch is currently affiliated with Cytel Inc, Chesterbrook, PA, USA

                Correspondence: Martin E Hale, Gold Coast Research, LLC, 499 NW 70th Avenue, Suite 200, Plantation, FL 33317, USA Tel +1 954 659 3399 Fax +1 954 659 3400 Email goldcoast@ 123456HaleMD.com
                © 2013 Hale et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd

                This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Original Research


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