Negligible analgesic tolerance seen with extended release oxymorphone: A post hoc analysis of open-label longitudinal data

R. Norman Harden*, Christine M. Gagnon, Joseph Graciosa, Errol M. Gould

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the development of analgesic tolerance in patients on oxymorphone extendedrelease (OxymER). Design: Post hoc analysis of data from a previously conducted prospective 1 year multi-center openlabel extension study in which patients were able to titrate as needed. Patients: Sample of 153 hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA) subjects on OxymER. Primary analyses were limited to study completers (n = 62) due to the large amount of missing data for the noncompleters (n = 91). Outcome Measures. Main outcome measures included OxymER doses (pill counts) and pain intensity ratings using a visual analog scale at monthly visits. Results: There were significant dose increases from weeks 1 to 2 and 2 to 6 (P < 0.05). Doses stabilized around week 6, suggesting the completion of what we defined as "titration." Both doses and pain ratings were stable when this titration phase was excluded from the analysis (P = 0.751; P = 0.056, respectively). Only 28% of the patients had any dose changes following this titration. While there was a significantly greater dose at week 52 compared with week 10 (P = 0.010), the increase in dose became insignificant after excluding four subjects who required two dose increases (P = 0.103). Conclusions: The results showed that most of the titration/dose stabilization changes occurred within the first 10 weeks. A minority (28%) of subjects required dosage increases after this (defined) titration period. Pain reports stabilized statistically after 2 weeks. The findings of this post hoc analysis suggest a lack of opioid tolerance in the majority (72%) of these OA patients who completed this study following a defined titration period on OxymER. Summary: This post hoc analysis of oxymorphone ER consumption in osteoarthritis pain vs pain report showed that most dose changes occurred during an initial "titration period" as defined. Following this titration few subjects increased dose and analgesia remained stable. These findings suggest a lack of longitudinal opioid tolerance in the majority of those OA subjects who completed the trial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1198-1208
Number of pages11
JournalPain Medicine (United States)
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Nonmalignant pain
  • Opioid tolerance
  • Osteoarthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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