A multicenter, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multiple-crossover study of Fentanyl Pectin Nasal Spray (FPNS) in the treatment of breakthrough cancer pain

Pain. 2010 Dec;151(3):617-624. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2010.07.028. Epub 2010 Aug 25.


This randomized, double-blind, crossover study assessed the efficacy and tolerability of a new rapid onset nasal fentanyl formulation (Fentanyl Pectin Nasal Spray; FPNS) for breakthrough cancer pain (BTCP). Eighty-three of 114 patients experiencing one to four BTCP episodes/day while taking ≥60 mg/day of oral morphine or equivalent successfully identified an effective dose of FPNS during a titration phase and entered a double-blind phase in which 10 BTCP episodes were treated with this effective dose (7) or placebo (3). Compared with placebo, FPNS significantly improved mean summed pain intensity difference (SPID) from 10 min (P<0.05) until 60 min (P<0.0001), including the primary endpoint at 30 min (P<0.0001). FPNS significantly improved pain intensity (PI) scores as early as 5 min (P<0.05); pain intensity difference (PID) from 10 min (P<0.01); and pain relief (PR) scores from 10 min (P<0.001). More patients showed a clinically meaningful (≥ 2-point reduction in PI) pain reduction from 10 min onward (P ≤ 0.01) and 90.6% of the FPNS-treated versus 80.0% of placebo-treated BTCP episodes did not require rescue medication (P<0.001). Approximately 70% of patients were satisfied or very satisfied with the convenience and ease of use of FPNS. Only 5.3% of patients withdrew from treatment due to adverse events, no significant nasal effects were reported, and 87% of patients elected to continue open-label treatment post-study. In this short-term study, FPNS was safe, well tolerated, and rapidly efficacious for BTCP.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage*
  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fentanyl / administration & dosage*
  • Fentanyl / adverse effects
  • Fentanyl / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Intention to Treat Analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain Measurement / drug effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Fentanyl