Fentanyl by Continuous Subcutaneous Infusion for the Management of Cancer Pain
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Twenty-two patients who received fentanyl by continuous subcutaneous infusion for treatment of cancer pain were evaluated retrospectively. No local toxicities were noted. Five patients were switched from transdermal fentanyl due to uncontrolled pain; three achieved stability, accompanied by improvement in visual analogue scores for pain. Seventeen patients were switched from other opioids due to toxicity; 10 achieved stability, with documented improvement in toxicity in seven. The median dose ratio of opioid prior to switchover (mg/day) to fentanyl at stabilization (mg/day) was 85.4 (range 65-112.5) for morphine and 23.0 (range 10.7-29.7) for hydromorphone. Of six stable patients switched from subcutaneous to transdermal fentanyl, four maintained stability. We conclude that fentanyl by continuous subcutaneous infusion is a useful alternative for cancer patients who experience uncontrolled pain while receiving transdermal fentanyl or who experience toxicity on other opioids.
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