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Role of intranasal fentanyl in breakthrough pain management in cancer patients

Authors Leppert W

Published 30 September 2010 Volume 2010:2 Pages 225—232

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CMAR.S7926

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2


Wojciech Leppert
Department of Palliative Medicine, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland

Abstract: Fentanyl is a strong opioid analgesic, which is commonly used in the form of a transdermal patch for the treatment of chronic cancer pain. An intranasal route of fentanyl administration is a novel treatment for breakthrough cancer pain (BTCP). The prevalence, assessment, and management of BTCP is outlined in this paper, and basic pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties, dosing guidelines, and clinical experience with the use of intranasal fentanyl in this indication are discussed. Intranasal fentanyl is an attractive and convenient mode of BTCP treatment in opioid-tolerant patients due to its quick onset and short duration of action, noninvasive administration route, high bioavailability, and avoidance of a hepatic first-pass effect. Until now, few clinical trials have been conducted with intranasal fentanyl, but all have confirmed its usefulness and acceptability in BTCP treatment. Intranasal fentanyl may be used in opioid-tolerant patients without nasal pathologies. The dose should be titrated in each patient regardless of the regular opioid dose administered. Future studies should compare intranasal fentanyl with other fentanyl formulations used for BTCP management, and with analgesia, adverse effects, and quality of life taken into consideration.

Keywords: adverse effects, analgesia, breakthrough pain, intranasal fentanyl, opioid analgesics, treatment

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