Takase, H., Sakata, T., Yamano, T., Sueta, T., Nomoto, S., & Nakagawa, T. (2011). Advantage of early induction of opioid to control pain induced by irradiation in head and neck cancer patients. Auris, Nasus, Larynx, 38(4), 495–500.doi: 10.1016/j.anl.2010.12.012
To determine whether early induction of low-dose opioid for the treatment of mild pain improves dietary and caloric intake and reduces weight loss among patients with head and neck cancer
The low-dose opioid this study used was controlled-release oxycodone (CRO). The intial dose was 10 mg and the dose was titrated upward as needed. Because all patients agreed to use an opioid at some point, patients were classified into two groups, mild and moderate (referring to pain), according to when the opioid was introduced.
Prospective descriptive study
Results indicated that the introduction of opioids for mild pain during radiotherapy controls the level of pain and increases the food intake of head and neck cancer patients. For such patients, use of opioids, beginning when pain is mild, may help to ensure a better dietary intake during radiotherapy.
For the population of patients with head and neck cancer, maintaining food intake is a challenge, so this study is relevant. The intervention uses a standard pain control agent; the point at issue is the advisability of early intervention (early in terms of the World Health Organization ladder). The patient population pertinent to the study is very specific; the study is not generalizable.