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Intranasal Fentanyl for Breakthrough Pain Control

DOI: 10.4137/CMT.S7298

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Abstract:

Breakthrough pain (BTP) is experienced by approximately 65% of children and adults with chronic pain. Undiagnosed or untreated BTP produces negative emotional, physical, and economic consequences. BTP episodes have a rapid onset and short duration. Short acting oral opioids are the cornerstone of BTP management. Oral medications available to treat BTP episodes like immediate-release morphine or oxycodone have a delayed onset of action so that there is a mismatch between the episode of BTP and the effect of the oral opioids. Novel fentanyl delivery systems for BTP offer pharmacokinetic properties that match the time profile of BTP. Among the transmucosal routes, intranasal fentanyl has gained popularity due to its high bioavailability, rapid onset of action, high potency, short duration, and ease of administration. Its efficacy and safety have been demonstrated in adults who are opioid tolerant. Although children with chronic cancer pain also experience BTP, there is paucity of data on the use of intranasal fentanyl for BTP in this age group.

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