Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of tapentadol prolonged release (PR) vs. oxycodone/naloxone PR in non-opioid-pretreated patients with severe chronic low back pain with a neuropathic pain component.
Methods: Eligible patients (average pain intensity [numerical rating scale-3 (NRS-3)] ≥6; painDETECT positive/unclear) were randomized to twice-daily tapentadol PR 50 mg or oxycodone/naloxone PR 10 mg/5 mg. After a 21-day titration (maximum twice-daily doses: tapentadol PR 250 mg, or oxycodone/naloxone PR 40 mg/20 mg plus oxycodone PR 10 mg), target doses were continued for 9 weeks. The primary effectiveness endpoint was the change in NRS-3 from baseline to final evaluation; the exact repeated confidence interval (RCI) for tapentadol PR minus oxycodone/naloxone PR was used to establish noninferiority (upper limit <1.3) and superiority (confirmatory analyses).
Results: For the primary effectiveness endpoint, tapentadol PR was noninferior to oxycodone/naloxone PR (97.5% RCI: [-1.820, -0.184]; P < 0.001). This exact RCI also yielded evidence of superiority for tapentadol PR vs. oxycodone/naloxone PR (significantly greater reduction in pain intensity; P = 0.003). Improvements (baseline to final evaluation) in painDETECT and Neuropathic Pain Symptom Inventory scores were significantly greater with tapentadol PR vs. oxycodone/naloxone PR (all P ≤ 0.005).
Conclusions: The study was formally shown to be positive and demonstrated, in the primary effectiveness endpoint, the noninferiority for tapentadol PR vs. oxycodone/naloxone PR. The effectiveness of tapentadol PR was superior to that of oxycodone/naloxone PR by means of clinical relevance and statistical significance (confirmatory evidence of superiority). Tapentadol PR was associated with significantly greater improvements in neuropathic pain-related symptoms and global health status than oxycodone/naloxone PR and with a significantly better gastrointestinal tolerability profile. Tapentadol PR may be considered a first-line option for managing severe chronic low back pain with a neuropathic pain component.
Keywords: RCT; chronic low back pain; effectiveness; neuropathic pain; randomized controlled trial; tapentadol prolonged release.
© 2015 The authors. Pain Practice published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of World Institute of Pain.