Suh, S.Y., Choi, Y.S., Oh, S.C., Kim, Y.S., Cho, K., Bae, W.K., . . . Ahn, H.Y. (2013). Caffeine as an adjuvant therapy to opioids in cancer pain: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 46, 474–482.doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2012.10.232
To assess the efficacy of caffeine infusion as an adjuvant analgesic for patients with advanced cancer on opioids for chronic pain
Patients were randomly assigned to either a caffeine group or a placebo group. The caffeine group was given 200 mg of caffeine intravenously over one hour daily for two days. The placebo group was given normal saline. Pain was assessed before the intervention, one hour after the infusion on day 1, before the intervention on day 2, and one hour after the intervention on day 2. Adverse events were assessed during interventions and two hours later.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design was used.
A numeric rating scale (0–10) was used to measure pain and adverse effects.
Pain was significantly lower after the second trial, day 2, in those receiving caffeine (p = 0.038); however, the difference between groups in pain severity decline was extremely small. In those receiving caffeine, the decline in pain scores pre-post day 2 infusion was 0.83 (mean) and in those on placebo, the change was 0.81 (mean).
This study does not provide strong support for efficacy of caffeine infusion as an adjuvant analgesic compared to placebo for patients with pain associated with advanced cancer.
This study does not provide strong evidence for or against the use of caffeine infusions as adjuvant analgesia in patients with pain associated with advanced cancer.