The use of oxycodone/naloxone prolonged-release tablets (OXN PR) can provide significant relief for patients who have moderate to severe chronic pain and opioid-induced constipation (OIC), according to findings from a review published in Pain Practice.

Investigators performed a literature review to evaluate the clinical efficacy of OXN PR among patients with moderate to severe pain and OIC. According to the findings, the use of OXN PR is highly effective for initiating improvements in pain relief and bowel function. Clinical improvements were observed among patients with cancer-related pain as well as those with low back pain, Parkinson disease-related pain, musculoskeletal pain, and bladder pain. In addition, researchers discovered literature that demonstrated the effectiveness of OXN PR against constipation refractory to laxatives, a frequent issue in patients with OIC.

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Based on one observational study, the researchers also found that patients taking OXN PR and laxatives and switched to OXN PR alone experienced improved quality of life and fewer requirements for hospitalization. According to the investigators, this may indicate the long-term cost-effectiveness of OXN PR. In addition, OXN PR features abuse-deterrent properties, and therefore the benefit of using these tablets for pain relief may surpass that of standard opioids given the state of the current opioid addiction crisis in the United States.

Although this literature review demonstrated OXN PR to be an effective treatment option for patients with moderate to severe chronic pain and OIC, the investigators remind clinicians that patients who receive OXN PR “may still require laxatives to address their constipation, which can be due to causes in addition to opioid therapy.”

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Morlion BJ, Mueller-Lissner SA, Vellucci R, et al. Oral prolonged-release oxycodone/naloxone for managing pain and opioid-induced constipation: a review of the evidence [published online September 25, 2017]. Pain Pract. doi: 10.1111/papr.12646