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Efficacy and tolerability of low-dose oral prolonged-release oxycodone/naloxone for chronic nononcological pain in older patients

Authors Guerriero F, Sgarlata C, Marcassa C, Ricevuti G, Rollone M

Received 10 August 2014

Accepted for publication 25 September 2014

Published 16 December 2014 Volume 2015:10 Pages 1—11

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S72521

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Video abstract presented by Fabio Guerriero

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Fabio Guerriero,1,2 Carmelo Sgarlata,2 Claudio Marcassa,3 Giovanni Ricevuti,1,2 Marco Rollone1

1Azienda di Servizi alla Persona of Pavia, Istituto di Cura Santa Margherita, Pavia, Italy; 2Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Therapy, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy; 3Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri IRCCS, Veruno, Novara, Italy


Purpose: Chronic pain is highly prevalent in older adults. Increasing evidence indicates strong opioids as a valid option for chronic pain management in geriatrics. The aim of this study was to evaluate efficacy and safety of low-dose oral prolonged-release oxycodone–naloxone (OXN-PR) in patients aged ≥70 years.
Methods: This open-label prospective study assessed older patients naïve to strong opioids presenting with moderate-to-severe chronic pain. Patients were prescribed OXN-PR at an initial dose of 10/5 mg/day for 28 days. In case of insufficient analgesia, the initial daily dose could be increased gradually. The primary efficacy measure was change in pain intensity from baseline, assessed by a ten-point Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) at day 28 (T28). Changes in cognitive state, daily functioning, quality of life, constipation, and other adverse events were assessed.
Results: Of 53 patients enrolled (mean 81.7±6.2 years [range 70–92 years]), 52 (98.1%) completed the 28-day observation. At T28, the primary end point (≥30% reduction in mean pain from baseline in the absence of bowel function deterioration) was achieved in 38 patients (71.7%). OXN-PR significantly relieved pain (NRS score –3.26; P<0.0001), as well as daily need for rescue paracetamol (from 86.8% at baseline to 40.4% at T28; P<0.001), and reduced impact of pain on daily activities (Brief Pain Inventory Short Form from 6.2±1.5 to 3.4±2.1; P<0.0001). OXN-PR was also associated with significant improvement in daily functioning (Barthel Index from 53.3±14.1 to 61.3±14.3; P<0.01). No changes were observed in cognitive status and bowel function. OXN-PR was well tolerated; only one patient (1.9%) prematurely withdrew from treatment, due to drowsiness.
Conclusion: Findings from this open-label prospective study suggest that low-dose OXN-PR may be effective and well tolerated for treatment of moderate-to-severe chronic pain in older patients. Besides its effectiveness, these data indicate that low-dose OXN-PR may be considered a safe analgesic option in this fragile population and warrants further investigation in randomized controlled studies.

Keywords: chronic pain, elderly, opioid, oxycodone, constipation

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