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Two recent studies have shown that the addition of Naloxone to Oxycodone can help patients with constipation side effects without compromising on analgesic efficacy

Written by | 28 Sep 2012 | All Medical News

The combination also appears to be cost effective.

A randomized, double-blind, active-controlled, double-dummy, parallel-group study to determine the safety and efficacy of oxycodone/naloxone prolonged-release tablets in patients with moderate/severe, chronic cancer pain.


Ahmedzai SHNauck FBar-Sela GBosse BLeyendecker PHopp M.


School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.



An examination of whether oxycodone/naloxone prolonged-release tablets (OXN PR) can improve constipation and maintain analgesia, compared with oxycodone prolonged-release tablets (OxyPR) in patients with moderate/severe cancer pain.


Randomized, double-blind, active-controlled, double-dummy, parallel-group study in which 185 patients were randomized to receive up to 120 mg/day of OXN PR or OxyPR over 4 weeks. Efficacy assessments included Bowel Function Index (BFI), Brief Pain Inventory Short-Form (BPI-SF), laxative and rescue medication use. Quality of life (QoL) and safety assessments were conducted.


After 4 weeks, mean BFI score was significantly lower with OXN PR; mean total laxative intake was 20% lower with OXN PR. Mean BPI-SF scores were similar for both treatments and the average rate of analgesic rescue medication use was low and comparable. QoL assessments were stable and comparable with greater improvements in constipation-specific QoL assessments with OXN PR. Overall, rates of adverse drug reactions were similar.


OXN PR provides superior bowel function in cancer pain patients, compared with OxyPR, without compromising analgesic efficacy or safety. This study confirms that OXN PR is well tolerated and efficacious in cancer pain patients and results are in line with those seen in non-malignant pain patients.

Palliat Med. 2012 Jan;26(1):50-60. Epub 2011 Sep 21.


QoL benefits and cost impact of prolonged release oxycodone/naloxone versus prolonged release oxycodone in patients with moderate-to-severe non-malignant pain and opioid-induced constipation: a UK cost-utility analysis.

Dunlop WUhl RKhan ITaylor ABarton G.



To compare the cost effectiveness of prolonged release oxycodone/naloxone (OXN) tablets (Targinact) and prolonged release oxycodone (OXY) tablets (OxyContin) in patients with moderate-to-severe non-malignant pain and opioid-induced constipation (OIC) from the perspective of the UK healthcare system.


A cohort model used data from a phase III randomised, controlled trial (RCT). It calculated the cost difference between treatments by combining the cost of pain therapy with costs of laxatives and other resources used to manage constipated patients. SF-36 scores were converted into EQ-5D utility values to calculate the quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gains. Deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed.


The incremental cost of OXN versus OXY was £159.68 for the average treatment duration of 301 days. OXN gave an incremental QALY gain of 0.0273. The estimated incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was £5841.56 per QALY. Sensitivity analyses gave a maximum ICER of £10,347.03. In some scenarios, OXN dominated with a cost saving of up to £4254.70. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis showed that OXN had approximately 96.6% probability of cost effectiveness at the £20,000 threshold.


The model was conservative in predicting the probability of constipation beyond the 12-week RCT period. UK cost of constipation data were limited and based on primary care physician opinion.


In the base case, direct treatment costs were slightly higher for patients treated with OXN than for those treated with OXY. However, patients treated with OXN experienced a quality of life gain, and had an ICER considerably below thresholds commonly applied in the UK. The model was most sensitive to the estimated cost of constipation with a number of realistic scenarios in the sensitivity analysis demonstrating a cost saving with OXN (OXN dominant). OXN is therefore estimated to be a cost-effective option for treating patients with severe non-malignant pain and OIC.


J Med Econ. 2012;15(3):564-75. Epub 2012 Feb 23.

Disclosure and source

Mundipharma International Limited, Cambridge Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge, UK. Will.Dunlop@mundipharma.co.uk

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