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Oxycodone/Acetaminophen: The Tailoring Combination Treatment for Specific Clinical Profile of Opioid Well-Responsive Cancer Pain

Authors De Santis S, Simone MD, Mercadante S, Mediati RD, Vellucci R, Marchetti P, Tonini G, Cuomo A, Caraceni A, Natoli S, Armento G, Blasi L, Mammucari M

Received 26 November 2020

Accepted for publication 31 January 2021

Published 19 February 2021 Volume 2021:13 Pages 1747—1756


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Ahmet Emre Eşkazan

Stefano De Santis,1 Maria Domenica Simone,2 Sebastiano Mercadante,3 Rocco Domenico Mediati,4 Renato Vellucci,4 Paolo Marchetti,5 Giuseppe Tonini,6 Arturo Cuomo,7 Augusto Caraceni,8 Silvia Natoli,9 Grazia Armento,6 Livio Blasi,10 Massimo Mammucari11 On behalf of the IOPS-MS Study Group

1Palliative Care and Oncologic Pain Service, S. Camillo-Forlanini Hospital, Rome, Italy; 2Hematology and BMT Unit, S. Camillo-Forlanini Hospital, Rome, Italy; 3Anesthesia and Intensive Care & Pain Relief and Supportive Care, La Maddalena, Palermo, Italy; 4Palliative Care and Pain Therapy Unit, Careggi Hospital, Florence, Italy; 5Molecular and Clinical Medicine Medical Oncology, La Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy; 6Department of Medical Oncology, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome, Rome, Italy; 7Anesthesiology, Resuscitation, and Pain Therapy Department, National Cancer Institute, IRCCS Foundation, Naples, Italy; 8Palliative Care, Pain Therapy and Rehabilitation, National Cancer Institute, IRCCS Foundation, Milan, Italy; 9Department of Clinical Science and Translational Medicine – University of Rome Tor Vergata and Department of Emergency, Admission and Critical Area – Policlinic of Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy; 10Medical Oncology Unit, ARNAS Ospedale Civico Di Cristina Benfratelli, Palermo, Italy; 11Primary Care Unit, ASL RM1, Rome, 00165, Italy

Correspondence: Stefano De Santis Email

Background: International guidelines recommend moderate-to-severe cancer pain to be treated with strong opioids. However, pain management remains an unsolved matter, at least in the demanding oncology and palliative care setting. Although cancer pain consists of multiple components, which interact in complex ways where combination therapy can better intercept multiple pain characteristics, few studies have used a non-opioid/opioid association to exploit possible synergistic actions. Even the efforts of a recent approach emphasizing appropriate pain assessment and accurate classification to obtain personalized pain management have not produced a satisfactory analgesic strategy.
Objective: This analysis was intended to evaluate the effectiveness of the immediate release fixed combination of oxycodone/acetaminophen (OxyIR/Par) for the treatment of moderate-to-severe intensity background pain used alone or in combination with other strong opioids in cancer patients with breakthrough cancer pain (BTcP). This is a secondary analysis of a wider observational, prospective, multicenter study [Italian Oncologic Pain multiSetting Multicentric Survey (IOPS-MS)] performed on 179 patients treated with opioids for cancer pain who received the fixed combination of oxycodone/acetaminophen (OxyIR/Par) for the treatment of background pain (BGP).
Results: Cancer patients with breakthrough cancer pain and controlled BGP (Background Pain) were classified according to the presence of analgesic therapy with tablets of fixed combination OxyIR/Par alone (group A, n=120) or tablets of fixed combination OxyIR/Par combined with other strong opioids (group B, n=59). Clinical features of group A were different to group B: higher mean Karnofsky Performance Status Index 70.3% (95% CI=67.2– 73.5; median=70, CI=60– 80) vs 58.3 (95% CI=53.4– 63.2; median=50, CI=45– 70) (P< 0.001), and mainly group A patients were treated in an ambulatory setting (55.0% group A vs 33.9% group B) (p< 0.001). Both groups had managed BGP with similar mean dosages (group A: 12.0, CI=10.5– 13.4; group B: 13.1, CI=11.0– 15.1) and frequencies of OxyIR/Par alone for group A and in association to other opioids for group B, but Breakthrough cancer Pain (BTcP) exhibited different characteristics in the two groups, showing a lower mean intensity numerical rating scale (NRS) of 7.5 (95% CI=7.2– 7.7; median=7, CI=7– 8 group A) vs 7.9 (95% CI=7.6, 8.2; median= 8, CI=7– 9 group B) (P=0.04) and a higher percentage of patients had a faster onset, defined as the maximum intensity reached in less than 10 minutes, 81.7% (N=98) in group A vs 59.3% (n=35) in group B (P=0.002).
Conclusion: This is the first analysis about the efficacy of an immediate-release fixed combination of OxyIR/Par in the real world for moderate-to-severe background cancer pain and breakthrough cancer pain. The oral fixed combination OxyIR/Par provided an adequate level of analgesia for moderate–severe background cancer pain, in a different cohort of cancer patients with different performance status, both in ambulatory and palliative settings. The low dosage of fixed combination OxyIR/Par was effective alone or in association with other opioids.

Keywords: analgesia, combination of oxycodone/acetaminophen, cancer pain, breakthrough cancer pain

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