Background: Tapentadol is a novel, centrally acting analgesic with mu-opioid receptor agonist and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor activity.
Objective: to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Tapentadol extended release (ER) compared with oxycodone controlled release (CR) for management of moderate to severe chronic osteoarthritis-related knee pain.
Methods: this was a randomized, double-blind, active- and placebo-controlled, parallel-arm, multicentre, phase III study during which patients received Tapentadol ER, oxycodone CR or placebo for a 3-week titration period followed by a 12-week maintenance period. The study was carried out at sites in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US. A total of 1030 patients with chronic osteoarthritis-related knee pain were randomized to receive Tapentadol ER 100-250 mg twice daily, oxycodone HCl CR 20-50 mg twice daily or placebo. Primary endpoints (as determined prior to initiation of the study) were the changes from baseline in average daily pain intensity (rated by patients on an 11-point numerical rating scale) over the last week of maintenance and over the entire 12-week maintenance period; last observation carried forward was used to impute missing values after early treatment discontinuation.
Results: efficacy and safety were evaluated for 1023 patients. Tapentadol ER significantly reduced average pain intensity from baseline to week 12 of the maintenance period versus placebo (least squares mean [LSM] difference [95% CI], -0.7 [-1.04, -0.33]), and throughout the maintenance period (-0.7 [-1.00, -0.33]). Oxycodone CR significantly reduced average pain intensity from baseline throughout the maintenance period versus placebo (LSM difference [95% CI], -0.3 [-0.67, -0.00]) but not at week 12 (-0.3 [-0.68, 0.02]). A significantly higher percentage of patients achieved > or =50% improvement in pain intensity in the Tapentadol ER group (32.0% [110/344]) compared with the placebo group (24.3% [82/337]; p = 0.027), indicating a clinically significant improvement in pain intensity, while a significantly lower percentage of patients achieved > or =50% improvement in pain intensity in the oxycodone CR group (17.3% [59/342]; p = 0.023 vs placebo). In the placebo, Tapentadol ER and oxycodone CR groups, respectively, 61.1% (206/337), 75.9% (261/344) and 87.4% (299/342) of patients reported at least one treatment-emergent adverse event (TEAE); incidences of gastrointestinal-related TEAEs were 26.1% (88/337), 43.0% (148/344) and 67.3% (230/342).
Conclusion: treatment with Tapentadol ER 100-250 mg twice daily or oxycodone HCl CR 20-50 mg twice daily was effective for the management of moderate to severe chronic osteoarthritis-related knee pain, with substantially lower incidences of gastrointestinal-related TEAEs associated with treatment with Tapentadol ER than with oxycodone CR.