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Trial Results with Intranasal Fentanyl Hold Promise for Treatment,of Breakthrough Pain in Cancer

BUDAPEST, Hungary, June, 7, 2007--A pioneering nasal spray could stop thousands of patients with cancer from suffering unnecessary pain; it was reported today1 at the 10th Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care, Budapest, 7–9 June. The study investigated whether this first in class novel formulation could provide fast onset of pain relief and short duration of effect, mirroring the breakthrough pain often experienced by patients with cancer.

The majority of patients with cancer experience chronic pain during the course of their illness.2 However, patients with cancer can experience breakthrough pain despite adequate chronic background pain treatment.3 Breakthrough pain comes on very quickly, lasts for about 30 minutes on average, and can be very intense.2–4 The ideal treatment should mimic the typical breakthrough pain episode and provide tight control of the pain, i.e. fast but short-acting pain relief.

The trial comparing intranasally with intravenously administered fentanyl showed that pain relief in all patients was 6–8 minutes after intranasal administration.1 The duration of pain relief provided by both routes was essentially the same.1 The bioavailability of the intranasal administered fentanyl was 89%.1

Dr Lona Christrup of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, explained ‘As a model for patients with cancer, we tested intranasal fentanyl to treat patients suffering pain after dental surgery.’ Dr Christrup also stated that ‘The intranasal fentanyl spray used in our study provided tight control of the pain meaning fast onset of action and relatively short duration of effect, making it a promising method for treating breakthrough cancer pain. This method of administration has the added advantage of being very easy to use, which is especially important for patients with cancer.’


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