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Keywords:

  • chronic pain;
  • transdermal;
  • opioid;
  • tolerability

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The current study was conducted to assess the safety and tolerability of a transdermal fentanyl delivery system for the relief of chronic pain in a pediatric population, and also to validate titration recommendations and conversion to transdermal fentanyl from oral opioid therapy.

METHODS

This 15-day (with 3-month extension), single-arm, open-label trial was conducted at 66 sites in 10 countries. A total of 199 pediatric patients (ages 2–16 years) with both malignant and nonmalignant conditions who were receiving oral or parenteral opioids for moderate to severe chronic pain were enrolled. Transdermal fentanyl doses were titrated upward according to the rescue medication consumed during the previous application period. Degree of pain was assessed by patients and parents/guardians using visual and numeric scales. Level of play and quality of life were assessed using the Play Performance Scale (PPS) and the Child Health Questionnaire (CHQ). Adverse events were monitored on Days 1–15. Hypoventilation and sedation were monitored every 4 hours during the first 72 hours of the study.

RESULTS

A total of 173 patients completed the primary treatment period and 130 entered the extension phase. The average daily pain intensity scores were reported to have decreased by Day 16 and improvements in the mean PPS scores were observed to the end of the extension period. The CHQ scores demonstrated improvements in 11 of 12 domains after Month 1 of the extension period.

CONCLUSIONS

Transdermal fentanyl was found to be a safe and well tolerated alternative to oral opioid treatment for children ages 2–16 years who were previously exposed to opioid therapy. Cancer 2005. © 2005 American Cancer Society.