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European patient survey add weight to expert call for greater clinical consensus on BTCP
Date:6/10/2010

Glasgow, UK 10 June, 2010 Further results from the European Survey of Breakthrough Cancer Pain1 were presented for the first time today at the 6th Research Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) in Glasgow.

The survey, which is the first international survey to look in detail at breakthrough cancer pain (BTCP) from a patient perspective, show that up to 45% of cancer patients experiencing breakthrough pain do not adhere to medication despite suffering from devastating episodes.

The low adherence to drug therapy is a remarkable discovery and demonstrates that current treatments arent adequately meeting patients needs during these incapacitating episodes of pain, explained Dr. Andrew Davies, Department of Palliative Medicine, Royal Marsden Hospital, UK and the principal investigator of this survey.

The survey, moreover, found that up to 50% of patients seek additional help from non-pharmacological methods such as heat, positional changes and rest demonstrating the need for improved pain relief. When asked about the ideal BTCP medication, patients wanted (in order of ranking)

  • A medication that relieves the pain completely
  • A medication that relieves the pain quickly
  • A medication that causes few side effects
  • A medication that is easy to use
  • A medication that can be given by a relative/carer

However, the results of the survey show that patients are not given a medication that matches these needs. 90% of patients were receiving oral opioids to manage their breakthrough pain. Studies have shown that the median interval from onset to peak intensity of the typical BTCP episode is only three minutes2 and that the average episode lasts between 30-60 minutes3, 4. The time to peak analgesic effect of oral opioids is documented to be approximately 60-90 minutes5, long after a majority of the episodes have ended.

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Contact: Mette Thorn Srensen
mts@cohnwolfe.dk
45-41-38-43-00
Cohn & Wolfe
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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