JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Efficacy and tolerability of oxymorphone immediate release for acute postoperative pain after abdominal surgery: a randomized, double-blind, active- and placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial

Keith Aqua, Joseph S Gimbel, Neil Singla, Tina Ma, Harry Ahdieh, Rosemary Kerwin
Clinical Therapeutics 2007, 29 (6): 1000-12
17692717

BACKGROUND: Patients are typically switched from parenteral opioids to oral opioids during the 24 to 48 hours after surgery. In June 2006, an oral immediate-release (IR) tablet formulation of oxymorphone was approved for the treatment of acute moderate to severe pain. Single doses of oxymorphone IR have been reported to provide significant pain relief after orthopedic surgery.

OBJECTIVE: This study assessed the efficacy and tolerability of multiple fixed doses of oxymorphone IR in the treatment of acute postoperative pain after abdominal surgery.

METHODS: This was a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, active- and placebo-controlled, parallel-group study in men and women aged >or=18 years undergoing abdominal surgery that required a >or=3-cm incision. Patients who discontinued short-acting parenteral opioids and developed moderate or severe pain (4-point categorical scale [none, mild, moderate, or severe] and pain intensity >or=50 mm on a 100-mm visual analog scale [from 0 = no pain to 100 = worst pain imaginable]) within 30 hours after abdominal surgery were randomized to receive oxymorphone IR 10 or 20 mg, oxycodone IR 15 mg, or placebo every 4 to 6 hours after the previous dose. The study included 2 efficacy assessments: a single-dose evaluation for up to 6 hours after the dose, and a multipledose evaluation for up to 48 hours after the first dose. Pain was assessed at 15-minute intervals during the hour after the first dose, hourly thereafter for the next 5 hours, and before each subsequent dose. The primary efficacy end point was the median time to study discontinuation for all causes. Assessment of tolerability was based on the proportion of study discontinuations due to treatment-emergent adverse events (AEs).

RESULTS: Three hundred thirty-one patients were included in the study. Demographic characteristics were similar across all groups: 98.8% (327) of patients were women, and 80.1% (265) of the abdominal surgeries were hysterectomies. The mean (SD) age of the study population was 42.6 (9.3) years. The median time to study discontinuation for all causes was significantly longer for all active treatments compared with placebo (oxymorphone IR 10 mg, 17.9 hours; oxymorphone IR 20 mg, 20.3 hours; oxycodone IR 15 mg, 24.1 hours; placebo, 4.8 hours; P < 0.006). Oxymorphone IR 20 mg was significantly more effective than placebo over the 6-hour single-dose evaluation (P < 0.05). With multiple dosing, all active-treatment groups had significantly lower least squares mean current and average pain intensities compared with placebo (P < 0.004 and P < 0.005, respectively). The least squares means of the average pain intensity were significantly lower among patients treated with oxymorphone IR 10 mg, oxymorphone IR 20 mg, or oxycodone IR 15 mg compared with those who received placebo (39.7, 35.2, 39.8, and 50.1, respectively; P < 0.005). Discontinuations due to treatment-emergent AEs did not differ significantly between groups: 8.5% (7/82), 17.3% (14/81), 13.3% (11/83), and 12.9% (11/85) in the oxymorphone IR 10-mg, oxymorphone IR 20-mg, oxycodone IR 15-mg, and placebo groups, respectively. The proportions of patients reporting at least 1 treatment-emergent AE were 46.3% (38/82), 51.9% (42/81), and 54.2% (45/83) in the oxymorphone IR 10-mg, oxymorphone IR 20-mg, and oxycodone IR 15-mg groups, respectively, compared with 34.1% (29/85) in the placebo group (P = NS). The fixed-dose design was a study limitation, as it did not allow titration to effect and thus did not mirror clinical practice.

CONCLUSION: In this predominantly female population undergoing abdominal surgery, oxymorphone IR given every 4 to 6 hours for up to 48 hours provided efficacious and tolerable analgesia for moderate to severe pain.

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