Immediate-release tapentadol or oxycodone for treatment of acute postoperative pain after elective arthroscopic shoulder surgery: a randomized, phase IIIb study

J Opioid Manag. Jul-Aug 2013;9(4):281-90. doi: 10.5055/jom.2013.0170.


Objective: Arthroscopic shoulder surgery can result in substantial postoperative pain. This study evaluated the efficacy and safety of tapentadol immediate release (IR) or oxycodone IR in this setting for the treatment of acute pain.

Design: Subjects received tapentadol IR 50 or 100 mg or oxycodone IR 5 or 10 mg every 4-6 hours as needed for pain up to 7 days after arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Twice daily, subjects recorded pain intensity from 0 (no pain) to 10 (pain as bad as you can imagine) and pain relief from 0 (none) to 5 (complete). Final assessments included patient and clinician global impression of change and subject satisfaction with treatment. The primary efficacy endpoint was the sum of pain intensity differences (SPID) over 3 days.

Results: Of 378 subjects (192 tapentadol IR, 186 oxycodone IR) who took study medication, 312 (158 tapentadol IR, 154 oxycodone IR) had pain intensity ≥4 before the first dose and were evaluated for efficacy. Mean SPID scores over 3 days were 32.1 and 41.1 in the tapentadol IR and oxycodone IR groups, respectively (least-squares mean difference [95% confidence interval], 9.0 [-18.9, 36.9]; p = 0.527). Secondary analyses of pain intensity, pain relief, and subject satisfaction were similar between groups. Subjects and clinicians reported significantly better global impression of change for tapentadol IR. Adverse events were consistent with established safety profiles for IR opioids.

Conclusions: Tapentadol IR and oxycodone IR had similar efficacy for pain after arthroscopic shoulder surgery, but subjects and clinicians reported greater overall improvement with tapentadol IR.

Trial registration: NCT00814580.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acute Pain / diagnosis
  • Acute Pain / drug therapy*
  • Acute Pain / etiology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage*
  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arthroscopy / adverse effects*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Elective Surgical Procedures
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Oxycodone / administration & dosage*
  • Oxycodone / adverse effects
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative / diagnosis
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy*
  • Pain, Postoperative / etiology
  • Phenols / administration & dosage*
  • Phenols / adverse effects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Shoulder Joint / surgery*
  • Shoulder Pain / diagnosis
  • Shoulder Pain / drug therapy*
  • Shoulder Pain / etiology
  • Tapentadol
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Phenols
  • Oxycodone
  • Tapentadol

Associated data