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Concept: Fentanyl


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Local infiltration analgesia (LIA) reduces pain after total knee arthroplasty without the motor blockade associated with epidural analgesia or femoral nerve block. However, the duration and efficacy of LIA are not sufficient. A saphenous nerve block, in addition to single-dose LIA, may improve analgesia without interfering with early mobilization. METHODS: Forty patients were included in this double-blind randomized controlled trial. All patients received spinal anesthesia for surgery and single-dose LIA during the operation. An ultrasound-guided saphenous nerve catheter was placed postoperatively in the adductor canal at midthigh level. Patients were randomized into 2 groups to receive 15-mL boluses of either ropivacaine 7.5 mg/mL or saline twice daily for 2 postoperative days. RESULTS: Worst pain scores during movement on the day of surgery were significantly lower in the ropivacaine group (median [range] visual analog scale, 3 [0-7] vs 5.5 [0-10]; P < 0.050), as well as pain at rest (visual analog scale, 2 [0-8] vs 4 [0-8]; P = 0.032). Breakthrough pain occurred later in the ropivacaine group (10.5 [range, 0.5-48] hours vs 3.4 [range, 0.5-24] hours; P = 0.011). All patients in the ropivacaine group were able to ambulate on the day of surgery versus 13 patients in the control group (P = 0.004). Fewer patients had sleep disturbance on the first postoperative night in the ropivacaine group (P = 0.038). We found no differences in morphine consumption. CONCLUSIONS: The combination of a saphenous nerve block with single-dose LIA offered better pain relief on the day of surgery than LIA alone.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Anesthesia, Pain, Morphine, Epidural, Fentanyl, Saphenous nerve, Adductor canal


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this work is to study the prevalence, intensity, and treatment of pain in Portuguese palliative care teams. METHODS: Twenty-one palliative care teams were invited to participate in a cross-sectional survey. Ten of these accepted and were included in the study. Data of all patients observed on the 18th week of 2011 were collected. The data collected concerning pain were: demographic data, pain intensity, drugs prescribed, and invasive techniques. The intensity of pain was rated using a five-point verbal rating scale from none to maximum. The Pain Management Index (PMI) was used to calculate the adequacy of the analgesia. RESULTS: A total of 164 patients were included in this study. One hundred fifty-one (92 %) had cancer. The median age was 71 years (16 to 95). Eighty-four (51 %) were females. Pain was directly assessed in 136 (83 %) of the patients, whereas 27 patients could not report pain because of cognitive failure. Of those directly assessed, 77 (57 %) had pain when they were assessed: 42 (55 %) mild, 25 (32 %) moderate, 9 (12 %) severe, and 1 (1 %) maximum. Non-opioid analgesics were used: paracetamol in 61 (37 %) and NSAID in 20 (12 %). Tramadol was the only opioid for mild to moderate pain used in 25 (15 %) patients. The opioids most used for moderate to intense pain were: morphine 74 (45 %), transdermal (TD) fentanyl 32 (20 %), and buprenorphine TD 28 (17 %). The adjuvants most used were: corticosteroids 38 (23 %), gabapentin 37 (23 %), and amitriptyline 15 (9 %). Only five (4 %) patients had a negative PMI, meaning an inadequate analgesia. CONCLUSION: The general prevalence of pain is similar to that reported by other. The prevalence of moderate to severe pain is also similar to that reported in other studies, although severe pain is somewhat lower than indicated in most reports. According to the PMI, pain control was acceptable to good.

Concepts: Opioid, Pain, Morphine, Analgesic, Buprenorphine, Suffering, Fentanyl, Tramadol


BACKGROUND:: To the best of our knowledge, there have been no reports on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics during the conversion from continuous intravenous infusion (CII) to transdermal fentanyl administration. The primary objective of the present study was to clarify the pharmacokinetic characteristics during this conversion. A secondary objective was to identify an association between serum albumin and the absorption of fentanyl from the transdermal patch. METHODS:: A prospective study was conducted from February 2010 to August 2011 that enrolled 19 patients with chronic cancer pain. Patients were classified into 2 study groups according to body mass index and albumin level. All patients received the conversion from CII to transdermal fentanyl using a 2-step taper of CII over 6 hours. Comparisons of efficacy, toxicity, and serum fentanyl concentrations between study groups were analyzed at baseline, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 24 hours after initiation of the conversion. RESULTS:: The dose-adjusted serum fentanyl concentrations for all patients were significantly decreased at 15 to 24 hours after conversion compared with baseline, although pain intensity and the number of rescue events remained stable during the conversion. The dose-adjusted serum fentanyl concentrations at 9 to 24 hours were significantly reduced in the low albumin group compared with the normal albumin group (P<0.05). CONCLUSIONS:: Our study demonstrated that the dose-adjusted serum fentanyl concentrations remained relatively stable, and pain intensity and the number of rescue events remained stable during conversion. Hypoalbuminemia was strongly associated with poor absorption of transdermally administered fentanyl.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Transdermal patch, Body mass index, Albumin, Route of administration, Pharmacokinetics, Fentanyl, Pharmacodynamics


BACKGROUND : Transdermal therapeutic system fentanyl with a drug release rate of 12 µg/h should be of special value in pediatric cancer pain control. Such a fentanyl formulation allows for a stepwise dose increase, similar to that reported for sustained-release morphine. PATIENTS AND METHODS : Sixty-four male and female pediatric patients with moderate to severe chronic cancer pain, ages ranging 2-14 years, were included. Patients did not receive opioids prior to enrollment. Patients were observed for pain relief using the Visual Analog Scale and the Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale, play performance score, and for side effects. RESULTS : There was significant improvement of visual analog scale and FACES pain scores from the baseline to the second day of application (P < 0.001). By the 15th day, scores reached 1.18 ± 0.393 and 1.13 ± 0.35, respectively (P < 0.001). Play performance scale improved from the third day of application of the patch when compared with the baseline (P < 0.001), reaching 55.02 ± 8.35 (P < 0.001) at the end of the study. The sedation score increased on the second day to 2 in 10 patients and to 3 in 54 patients. By the seventh day, 56 patients had a sedation score of 1. All patients returned to baseline by the 15th day. Itching was reported in 16 cases, and erythema occurred in 10 cases. No significant side effects were reported. CONCLUSION : Transdermal fentanyl was found to be an effective, safe, and well-tolerated treatment for pediatric cancer-related pain in opioid-naive patients with chronic moderate to severe pain. In this study population, evaluation of vital signs and physical examination did not suggest any safety concerns while using transdermal fentanyl.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Transdermal patch, Anesthesia, Pain, Buprenorphine, Suffering, Pain management, Fentanyl


To conduct a systematic literature review (SLR) and quantitative analysis to assess the comparative efficacy and safety of the sufentanil sublingual tablet system (SSTS) against other available patient controlled analgesia (PCA) options for post-operative analgesia.

Concepts: Systematic review, Opioid, Pain, Analgesic, Fentanyl, Infusion pump, Patient-controlled analgesia, Philip H. Sechzer


To evaluate the relative clinical efficacy, safety, and tolerability associated with two non-invasive patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) treatments, sufentanil sublingual tablet system (SSTS) and fentanyl iontophoretic patient-controlled transdermal system (PCTS). These two treatments have recently been approved in the EU for the management of acute moderate-to-severe post-operative pain in adult patients.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medical terms, Transdermal patch, Opioid, Pain, Spanish language, Pain management, Fentanyl


Synthetic opioid overdose mortality among young adults has risen more than 300% in the USA since 2013, primarily due to the contamination of heroin and other drugs with illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Rapid test strips, which can be used to detect the presence of fentanyl in drug samples (before use) or urine (after use), may help inform people about their exposure risk. The purpose of this study was to determine whether young adults who use drugs were willing to use rapid test strips as a harm reduction intervention to prevent overdose. We hypothesized that those who had ever overdosed would be more willing to use the test strips.

Concepts: Drug, Drugs, Opioid, Drug addiction, Heroin, Naloxone, Fentanyl, Drug overdose


We aimed to assess the effectiveness of remifentanil used as intravenous patient-controlled analgesia for the pain of labour. We performed a systematic literature search in December 2015 (updated in December 2016). We included randomised, controlled and cluster-randomised trials of women in labour with planned vaginal delivery receiving patient-controlled remifentanil compared principally with other parenteral and patient-controlled opioids, epidural analgesia and continuous remifentanil infusion or placebo. The primary outcomes were patient satisfaction with pain relief and the occurrence of adverse events for mothers and newborns. We assessed risk of bias for each included study and applied the GRADE approach for the quality of evidence. We included total zero event trials, using a constant continuity correction of 0.01 and a random-effect meta-analysis. Twenty studies were included in the qualitative analysis; within these, 3713 participants were randomised and 3569 analysed. Most of our pre-specified outcomes were not studied in the included trials. However, we found evidence that women using patient-controlled remifentanil were more satisfied with pain relief than women receiving parenteral opioids (four trials, 216 patients, very low quality evidence) with a standardised mean difference ([SMD] 95%CI) of 2.11 (0.72-3.49), but were less satisfied than women receiving epidural analgesia (seven trials, 2135 patients, very low quality evidence), -0.22 (-0.40 to -0.04). Data on adverse events were sparse. However, the relative risk (95%CI) for maternal respiratory depression for patient-controlled remifentanil compared with epidural analgesia (three trials, 687 patients, low-quality evidence) was 0.91 (0.51-1.62). Compared with continuous intravenous infusion of remifentanil (two trials, 135 patients, low-quality evidence) no conclusion could be reached as all study arms showed zero events. The relative risk (95%CI) of Apgar scores less than 7 at 5 min after birth compared with epidural analgesia (five trials, 1322 participants, low-quality evidence) was 1.26 (0.62-2.57).

Concepts: Childbirth, Systematic review, Anesthesia, Opioid, Pain, Morphine, Pain management, Fentanyl


Cancer pain is still inadequately treated in up to 60% of cancer patients. Based on the additional effect on the N-Methyl-d-Aspartate receptor, we expected that methadone (Met) could provide better pain relief than fentanyl (Fen) in cancer pain with a neuropathic pain component.

Concepts: Pain, Pain management, Peripheral neuropathy, Fentanyl, Neuropathic pain


Cannabidiol (CBD) is hypothesized as a potential treatment for opioid addiction, with safety studies an important first step for medication development. We determined CBD safety and pharmacokinetics when administered concomitantly with a high-potency opioid in healthy subjects.

Concepts: Human, Drug, Morphine, Drug addiction, Addiction, Heroin, Fentanyl