Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Palliative Care and BioMed Central.

Open Access Open Badges Research article

An open-label, 1-year extension study of the long-term safety and efficacy of once-daily OROS® hydromorphone in patients with chronic cancer pain

Magdi Hanna12, Alberto Tuca3 and John Thipphawong4*

Author Affiliations

1 Director of Pain Research Unit, King's College Hospital, King's College London, UK

2 Analgesics & Pain Research, 62 Park Rd, Beckenham, Kent, UK

3 Medical Coordinator, Hospital Support Team of Palliative Care, Hospital Duran i Reynals, Instituto Catalán de Oncología, Av. Gran Vía de L'Hospitalet 199-203, L'Hospitalet, Barcelona, Spain

4 Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Division Corporation, 6500 Paseo Padre Boulevard, Fremont, California 94555, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Palliative Care 2009, 8:14  doi:10.1186/1472-684X-8-14

Published: 15 September 2009



Opioid analgesics have proven efficacy in the short-term management of chronic cancer pain, but data on their long-term use is more limited. OROS® hydromorphone is a controlled-release formulation of oral hydromorphone that may be particularly well suited to long-term management of chronic cancer pain because it provides stable plasma concentrations and consistent analgesia with convenient once-daily dosing. The objective of this study (DO-118X) was to characterise the pain control achieved with long-term repeated dosing of OROS® hydromorphone in patients with chronic cancer pain.


In this multicentre, phase III, open-label, single treatment, 1-year extension study, OROS® hydromorphone was administered to 68 patients with moderate-to-severe chronic cancer pain, who had successfully completed a short-term equivalence study, and whose pain was controlled with a stable dose of medication (≥ 8 mg OROS® hydromorphone or equivalent controlled-release morphine). Patients were started on the dose of OROS® hydromorphone equivalent to the opioid dose on which they achieved dose-stable pain control in the equivalence study; dose adjustments were made as necessary and breakthrough pain medication was permitted. Efficacy was assessed with the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) and patient and investigator global evaluations of treatment effectiveness. No formal statistical analysis was done.


The mean (standard deviation) duration of exposure to study medication was 139 (129.9) days and the mean (standard deviation) average daily consumption of OROS® hydromorphone was 43.7 (28.14) mg/day. All scores were maintained at a mild to moderate severity throughout the study; however, BPI scores for pain at its worst, pain at its least, pain on average, pain right now, and pain relief were slightly worsened at end point compared with baseline. Mean BPI pain interference with daily activities and patient and investigator global evaluation scores also remained generally stable. Treatment effectiveness was rated as fair to good throughout the study. The most frequently reported adverse events were nausea (n = 24, 35.3%), constipation (n = 22, 32.4%), and vomiting (n = 15, 22.1%).


The results of this extension study suggest that long-term repeated dosing with once-daily OROS® hydromorphone can be beneficial in the continuing management of persistent, moderate-to-severe cancer pain.