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      Sublingual sufentanil for postoperative pain relief: first clinical experiences

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          The sublingual sufentanil tablet system (SSTS) is a novel hand-held patient-controlled analgesia device developed for treatment of moderate-to-severe postoperative pain. Here we present the first results of its clinical use.


          Adult patients undergoing major surgery in five hospitals in the Netherlands received the SSTS for postoperative pain relief as part of multimodal pain management that further included paracetamol and a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). The following variables were collected: postoperative pain scores using the 11-point numerical rating score (NRS) at rest, number of tablets used, occurrence of nausea, and patient satisfaction scores.


          We included 280 patients in the study; the majority underwent laparoscopic abdominal (49%) or orthopedic (knee replacement) surgery (34%). The median NRS was 3.5 (interquartile range 2.3–4.0) on the day of surgery, 3.3 (2.3–4.0) on the first postoperative day, and 2.8 (2.0–4.0) on the second postoperative day; pain scores did not differ between surgery types. Mean number of tablets used was 19 (range 0–86). Nausea occurred in 34% of patients, more often in women (45% vs 19%). Overall satisfaction was high in 73% of patients. Satisfaction was correlated with pain relief ( p<0.001) and inversely correlated with occurrence of nausea ( p=0.01).


          In this data set obtained under real-life conditions we show that the SSTS effectively managed postoperative pain in abdominal and orthopedic surgeries. Future studies should determine patient populations that benefit most from the SSTS, assess the added values versus intravenous patient-controlled analgesia, and determine the pharmacoeconomics of the system.

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          Sufentanil Sublingual Tablet System vs. Intravenous Patient-Controlled Analgesia with Morphine for Postoperative Pain Control: A Randomized, Active-Comparator Trial

          Background Problems with intravenous patient-controlled analgesia (IV PCA) are well known, including invasive route of delivery and pump programming errors. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate patient satisfaction with a novel sublingual sufentanil PCA system (sufentanil sublingual tablet system 15 mcg with a 20-minute lockout interval; SSTS) to IV PCA morphine sulfate 1 mg with a 6-minute lockout interval (IV PCA MS) for the management of acute postoperative pain. Methods This was a randomized, open-label, 48-hour non-inferiority study with optional extension to 72 hours at 26 U.S. sites enrolling patients scheduled for elective major open abdominal or orthopedic (hip or knee replacement) surgery. The primary outcome measure was the proportion of patients who responded “good” or “excellent” (collectively “success”) at the 48-hour timepoint on the Patient Global Assessment of method of pain control (PGA48). Results A total of 357 patients received study drug and 78.5% vs. 65.6% of patients achieved PGA48 “success” for SSTS vs. IV PCA MS, respectively, demonstrating non-inferiority (P < 0.001 using the one-side Z-test against the non-inferiority margin) as well as statistical superiority for treatment effect (P = 0.007). Patients using SSTS reported more rapid onset of analgesia and patient and nurse ease of care and satisfaction scores were higher than IV PCA MS. Adverse events were similar between the 2 groups; however, SSTS had fewer patients experiencing oxygen desaturations below 95% compared to IV PCA MS (P = 0.028). Conclusions Sufentanil sublingual tablet system is a promising new analgesic technology that may address some of the concerns with IV PCA.
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            Sufentanil Sublingual Tablet System for the Management of Postoperative Pain Following Open Abdominal Surgery

            Background and Objectives This study evaluates the efficacy and safety of a sufentanil sublingual tablet system (SSTS) for the management of postoperative pain following open abdominal surgery. Methods At 13 hospital sites in the United States, patients following surgery with pain intensity of greater than 4 on an 11-point numerical rating scale were randomized to receive SSTS dispensing a 15-μg sufentanil tablet sublingually with a 20-minute lockout or an identical system dispensing a placebo tablet sublingually. Pain intensity scores were recorded at baseline and for up to 72 hours after starting study drug. The primary end point was time-weighted summed pain intensity difference (SPID) over 48 hours. Secondary end points included SPID and total pain relief (TOTPAR) for up to 72 hours and patient and health care provider global assessments of the method of pain control. Results Summed pain intensity difference over 48 hours was significantly higher in the SSTS group than in the placebo group (least squares mean [SEM], 105.60 [10.14] vs 55.58 [13.11]; P = 0.001). Mean SPID and TOTPAR scores were significantly higher in the SSTS group at all time points from 1 hour (SPID) or 2 hours (TOTPAR) until 72 hours (P < 0.05). In the SSTS group, patient global assessment and health care provider global assessment ratings of good or excellent were greater than placebo at all time points (P < 0.01). Safety parameters, including adverse events and vital signs, were similar for SSTS and placebo. Conclusions These results suggest that SSTS is effective and safe for the management of postoperative pain in patients following open abdominal surgery.
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              Pharmacokinetic Properties of Single- and Repeated-dose Sufentanil Sublingual Tablets in Healthy Volunteers


                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                24 May 2018
                : 11
                : 987-992
                [1 ]Department of Anesthesiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands
                [2 ]Department of Anesthesiology Pain and Palliative Medicine, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
                [3 ]Department of Anesthesiology, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
                [4 ]Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Reinier de Graaf Hospital, Delft, the Netherlands
                [5 ]Department of Anesthesiology and Acute Pain Service, Alrijne Hospital, Leiderdorp, the Netherlands
                [6 ]Department of Anesthesiology, Maasstad Hospital, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Albert Dahan, Department of Anesthesiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, LUMC, Albinusdreef 2, 2333 ZA Leiden, the Netherlands, Tel +31 71 526 2301, Email a.dahan@ 123456lumc.nl
                © 2018 Meijer 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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