Opioids relieve acute pain, but there is little evidence to support the stability of the benefit over long-term treatment of chronic noncancer pain. Previous systematic reviews consider only group level published data which did not provide adequate detail. Our goal was to use patient-level data to explore the stability of pain, opioid dose, and either physical function or pain interference in patients treated for 12 months with abuse deterrent formulations of oxycodone and hydrocodone. All available studies in the Food and Drug Administration Document Archiving, Reporting, and Regulatory Tracking System were included. Patient-level demographics, baseline data, exposure, and outcomes were harmonized. Individual patient slopes were calculated from a linear model of pain, physical function, and pain interference to determine response over time. Opioid dose was summarized by change between baseline and the final month of observation. Patients with stable or less pain, stable or lower opioid dose, and stable or better physical function (where available) met our prespecified criteria for maintaining long-term benefit from chronic opioids. Of the complete data set of 3192 patients, 1422 (44.5%) maintained their pain level and opioid dose. In a secondary analysis of 985 patients with a measured physical function, 338 (34.3%) maintained their physical function in addition to pain and opioid dose. Of 2040 patients with pain interference measured, 788 (38.6%) met criteria in addition. In a carefully controlled environment, about one-third of patients successfully titrated on opioids to treat chronic noncancer pain demonstrated continued benefit for up to 12 months.
Copyright © 2021 International Association for the Study of Pain.