Background: Subcutaneous methylnaltrexone is efficacious and well tolerated for opioid-induced constipation (OIC) but may theoretically disrupt opioid-mediated analgesia. Methods: Opioid use, pain intensity, and opioid withdrawal (Objective Opioid Withdrawal Scale [OOWS] and Subjective Opiate Withdrawal Scale [SOWS] scores) were reported in a randomized, double-blind trial with an open-label extension (RCT) and an open-label trial (OLT) evaluating safety in adults with chronic noncancer pain. In the RCT, patients taking ≥50 mg of oral morphine equivalents daily with <3 rescue-free bowel movements weekly received methylnaltrexone 12 mg once daily (n=150), every other day (n=148), or placebo (n=162) for 4 weeks, followed by open-label methylnaltrexone 12 mg (as needed [prn]; n=364) for 8 weeks. In the OLT, patients (n=1,034) on stable opioid doses with OIC received methylnaltrexone 12 mg prn for up to 48 weeks. Results: Minimal fluctuations of median morphine equivalent dose from baseline (BL) were observed in the RCT double-blind period (BL, 154.8-161.0 mg/d; range, 137.1-168.0 mg/d), RCT open-label period (BL, 156.3-174.6; range, 144.0-180.0) and OLT (BL, 120 mg/d; range, 117.3-121.1 mg/d). No significant change from BL in pain intensity score occurred in any group at weeks 2 or 4 (both P≥0.1) of the RCT double-blind period, and scores remained stable during the open-label period and in the OLT (mean change,-0.2 to 0.1). Changes from BL in OOWS and SOWS scores during the double-blind period were not significantly impacted by methylnaltrexone exposure at weeks 2 or 4 (P>0.05 for all). Conclusion: Methylnaltrexone did not affect opioid-mediated analgesia in patients with chronic noncancer pain and OIC.
- Mu-opioid receptor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine