SL Fentanyl Less Effective Than SC Morphine for Severe Cancer Pain Episodes

Sublingual fentanyl tablets were not noninferior to subcutaneous morphine for the treatment of severe pain episodes in patients with cancer, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1

Although sublingual fentanyl is a potentially useful alternative option to parenteral opioids such as subcutaneous morphine to treat severe breakthrough cancer pain, no study has directly compared the 2 approaches.

To assess the noninferiority of sublingual fentanyl vs subcutaneous morphine during the first 30 minutes after administration, investigators enrolled 114 patients receiving stable opioid therapy who were experiencing a severe episode of breakthrough pain in a double-blind, double-dummy trial. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either 100 μg of sublingual fentanyl or 5 mg of subcutaneous morphine.

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