Extended release opioid may help ease chronic neuropathic pain

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An abstract presented at the American Academy of Pain Medicine meeting in San Antonio suggests that an extended-release oxymorphone (brand name: Opana) formula could be a reasonable treatment option for cancer patients needing long-term neuropathic pain management.

Chronic pain is divided into two types:
Nocioceptive: the pain moves along normal nerve pathways (described as dull or throbbing)
Neuropathic: the pain is caused by damage to the central nervous system (described as burning, shooting, radiating).

Traditionally, opioids are first-line therapy to treat nocioceptive pain, but are often third-line therapy for neuropathic pain. This small study, sponsored by Endo Pharmaceuticals (makers of Opana) suggests that extended-release oxymorphone may offer some benefit for patients suffering from chronic neuropathic pain.

By Ross Bonander

Source: Slatkin N, et al. Long-term management of neuropathic cancer pain with oxymorphone extended release: Results of a 1-year open-label extension trial AAPM 2010; Abstract 117.

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