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01.12.2014 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

BMC Palliative Care 1/2014

Opioid switch from low dose of oral oxycodone to transdermal fentanyl matrix patch for patients with stable thoracic malignancy-related pain

BMC Palliative Care > Ausgabe 1/2014
Seigo Minami, Takashi Kijima, Takeshi Nakatani, Suguru Yamamoto, Yoshitaka Ogata, Haruhiko Hirata, Takayuki Shiroyama, Taro Koba, Kiyoshi Komuta
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1472-684X-13-46) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contribution

TK designed the study. SM and TK analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript. All authors accrued and managed patients, collected data, read and approve this manuscript, and agree to its submission.



The effectiveness and safety of switch from oral oxycodone to fentanyl patch is little known. Here, we investigated if early phase opioid switch from low dose of oral oxycodone to transdermal fentanyl matrix patch provided any benefits for patients with thoracic malignancy and stable cancer-related pain.


This open-label two-centered prospective study enrolled patients with thoracic malignancy suffering persistent malignancy-related pain with numeric rating scale of pain intensity ≤ 3 which had been controlled by oral oxycodone ≤ 20 mg/day. Eligible patients switched from oral oxycodone to 12.5 μg/h of transdermal fentanyl matrix patch. The dose was allowed to be titrated upwards every 3 day by 25-50%, except for the first increase from 12.5 μg/hr to 25 μg/hr,until achieving adequate pain control. The data on patients’ global assessment scores measured on a five-step scale, an 11-point numeric rating scale of pain intensity, the severity of adverse effects using a four-point categorical rating scale, and the Epworth sleepiness scale questionnaire were collected for 15 days.


Forty-nine eligible patients were analyzed. Overall patients’ satisfaction score significantly improved from day 1 (2.7 ± 0.9) to day 15 (2.3 ± 0.9) (p < 0.05), and 90% and 78% of patients remained to receive the minimum dose of fentanyl patch on day 8 and 15 from the opioid switch. There was a significant difference in sleepiness throughout the study period, though no difference was detected in pain intensity and other adverse effects.


Transdermal fentanyl matrix patch is an alternative analgesic option for a stable cancer pain in patients with thoracic malignancies.
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