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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