JOURNAL ARTICLE

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

Fabio Guerriero, Carmelo Sgarlata, Claudio Marcassa, Giovanni Ricevuti, Marco Rollone
Clinical Interventions in Aging 2015, 10: 1-11
25565782

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.

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