Objective. Assess the effectiveness and tolerability of a program of gradual dose titration with oxymorphone extended release (ER) for treatment of moderate to severe chronic pain in opioid-naive patients.
Design. Open-label, nonrandomized 6-month study with a titration/stabilization period of ≤1 month followed by a 5-month maintenance period.
Setting. Multidisciplinary pain centers in the United States.
Patients. Adult opioid-naive patients with moderate to severe chronic pain.
Interventions. Patients were gradually titrated from a 5-mg dose of oxymorphone ER (taken every 12 hours) to a stabilized dose that provided effective pain relief and was well tolerated.
Outcome Measures. Brief Pain Inventory Short Form questions 5 and 9, patient and physician global assessments of pain relief, adverse events (AEs), and discontinuations.
Results. The majority (94/126; 75%) of patients were stabilized on a dose of oxymorphone ER that provided effective pain relief with tolerable AEs. Most (81/94; 86%) required <24 days to reach a stable dose. Sixteen percent of patients in the titration period and 17% of patients in the maintenance period discontinued because of AEs possibly or probably related to oxymorphone ER. Patients completing the entire 5-month maintenance period experienced effective pain relief with significant (>50%) reductions of pain interference with quality-of-life measures. There was minimal dose escalation over the 5 months and low use of rescue medication.
Conclusions. Oxymorphone ER provided effective pain relief from moderate to severe chronic pain in opioid-naive patients. Gradual titration was well tolerated, with a low rate of discontinuations caused by AEs.