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The subjective, reinforcing, and analgesic effects of oxycodone in patients with chronic, non-malignant pain who are maintained on sublingual buprenorphine/naloxone.

Author(s): Jones JD, Sullivan MA, Manubay J, Vosburg SK, Comer SD

Affiliation(s): Division on Substance Abuse, New York State Psychiatric Institute/College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.

Publication date & source: 2011-01, Neuropsychopharmacology., 36(2):411-22. Epub 2010 Oct 27.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

Some sources suggest that significant misuse of opioid drugs exists among patients with chronic pain. However, the risk factors and motivation behind their abuse may differ from those of other opioid abusers. This study sought to examine the abuse liability of oxycodone among patients with chronic, non-malignant pain who met the DSM-IV criteria for opioid abuse. Eighteen opioid-dependent patients with chronic pain lived on an in-patient unit of the New York State Psychiatric Institute during the 7-week study. Participants were given oral oxycodone (0, 10, 20, 40, and 60 mg/70 kg) while maintained on various doses of sublingual buprenorphine/naloxone (Bup/Nx; 2/0.5, 8/2, and 16/4 mg/day). Doses of both medications were administered under double-blind conditions. Oxycodone produced an overall positive, but less robust, subjective profile than previously reported in recreational opioid users without pain. Furthermore, unlike our findings in recreational opioid users and more similar to effects in non-drug-abusing individuals, oxycodone failed to serve as a reinforcer. As for the maintenance drug, Bup/Nx produced a dose-related reduction in some of the effects of acutely administered oxycodone. These data suggest that sublingual Bup/Nx has the potential as an analgesic medication and further research should investigate its use in treating patients with chronic pain who abuse opioids.

Page last updated: 2011-12-09

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