Author(s): Zeppetella G
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Abstract Breakthrough pain is a common and distinct component of cancer pain that is usually managed with normal release opioids (also known as rescue medication) either before or soon after its onset. A prospective survey of hospice inpatients with breakthrough pain was undertaken to characterize their pain and then compare the time to onset of pain relief of their rescue medication. Patients presented with, on average, 1.7 different types of breakthrough pains (range, 1-4). The average number of breakthrough pains was four per day (range, 1-8), and the average duration of breakthrough pain was 35 minutes (range, 15-60); most occurred suddenly and unpredictably. Patients used morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, methadone, or oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate as rescue medication and the average time to meaningful pain relief following their administration was 31 minutes (range, 5-75). No difference was found between morphine, oxycodone, and hydromorphone. Methadone appeared to work faster than morphine (P<0.01) but no faster than oxycodone or hydromorphone, whereas oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate worked faster than morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and methadone (P<0.001).
This article was published in J Pain Symptom Manage
and referenced in Journal of Bioequivalence & Bioavailability