Mercadante, S., Porzio, G., Ferrera, P., Aielli, F., Verna, L., Tirelli, W., . . . Casuccio, A. (2009). Low doses of transdermal buprenorphine in opioid-naive patients with cancer pain: A 4-week, nonrandomized, open-label, uncontrolled observational study. Clinical Therapeutics, 31(10), 2134–2138.doi: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2009.10.013
To examine the effectiveness and side effects of transdermal buprenorphine in opioid-naive patients with cancer-related pain
Patients received an initial dose of transdermal buprenorphine: 17.5 mcg/hour, with patch changes every three days. For the treatment of breakthrough pain, patients received 5 mg oral morphine. Every 2–3 days, the transdermal buprenorphine dose was adjusted up to 70 mcg/hour. Each patient received adjuvant symptomatic drugs as needed. Patients were contacted weekly for adjustment of therapy. Patients completed rating scales of side effects and pain intensity at baseline, after 1 week, and at 4 weeks.
The setting type was unspecified. The site was Palermo, Italy.
Open-label observational trial
For the patients in this study, transdermal buprenorphine was effective for pain management and well tolerated.
Authors pointed out that the World Health Organization analgesic ladder suggests a dose equivalent of approximately 35 mcg/hour.