DrugLib.com — Drug Information Portal

Rx drug information, pharmaceutical research, clinical trials, news, and more

Acetaminophen for Cancer Pain

Information source: University Health Network, Toronto
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Cancer; Pain

Intervention: Acetaminophen (Drug); acetaminophen (Drug); placebo, sugar pill (Drug)

Phase: Phase 3

Status: Recruiting

Sponsored by: University Health Network, Toronto

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Janette Vardy, MD, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: University Health Network, University of Toronto
David Warr, MD, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: University Health Network, University of Toronto
Ian Tannock, MD, PhD, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: University Health Network, University of Toronto

Overall contact:
Janette Vardy, MD, Phone: +61297675000, Email: jvardy@med.usyd.edu.au


Many patients with cancer pain have pain not fully controlled on opioids (eg. morphine). The addition of acetaminophen (Tylenol) to opioids in a small study in cancer patients demonstrated better pain control without an increase in side effects. This study will determine if regular acetaminophen improves pain control when added to strong opioids in patients with cancer pain.

Clinical Details

Official title: A Randomised, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial of Acetaminophen in Cancer Patients on Strong Opioids

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment

Primary outcome:

Patient preference for the acetaminophen or the placebo arm as assessed by asking the patient whether he/she preferred treatment period 1 or treatment period 2

Differences in the mean pain intensity score as assessed by the daily average Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) pain score during the week given acetaminophen compared with the daily average NRS pain score during the week given placebo

Secondary outcome:

Symptoms possibly associated with acetaminophen use for each period using an NRS: feeling sick (nausea and vomiting)



cold sweats

overall sense of well being

Total analgesic consumption in each treatment period

Best and worst pain scores for each treatment period

Pain relief obtained in each treatment period

Effect of pain on functional ability

Strength of preference for acetaminophen versus placebo on a 5-point scale

Proportion of patients who had a preference for acetaminophen who perceived the improvement warranted taking the additional tablets

Proportion of patients having a clinically significant improvement in pain (defined as an improvement in mean NRS of at least 33% during the week taking acetaminophen)

Detailed description: Aim: To assess whether regular oral acetaminophen can reduce pain in cancer patients already on a strong opioid regimen. Rationale: It is estimated that 75% of people with advanced cancer suffer significant pain. Many of these people continue to have pain despite being on strong opioids. The rationale behind adding an additional analgesic with a different mechanism of action is to attempt to improve analgesia without increasing side effects. Overview: This is a double blind, randomised placebo-controlled, crossover trial to evaluate whether the addition of regular acetaminophen can reduce pain in cancer patients already on a strong opioid regimen. The study will be performed in ambulatory cancer patients who have pain that is believed to be caused by their cancer, and who have already been stabilised on an opioid regimen of > 60mg/day of morphine equivalents. Each patient will be randomly allocated to receive either acetaminophen 1g qid or an identical appearing placebo qid for a seven-day period, and then crossed over to the other arm for a further seven-day period. Patients will complete daily pain diaries and weekly questionnaires (Brief Pain Inventory) and comparison will be made between the pain scores for the two treatment periods. Patient preference for the two treatment periods will also be evaluated. Research Question: A randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled crossover trial to determine if the addition of regular acetaminophen (1g PO qid) leads to improved analgesic control in adult cancer patients at Princess Margaret Hospital, who are already on strong opioids (> 60mg morphine equivalents/day) as evaluated by daily pain scores measured by Numerical Rating Scales (NRS) and the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI). Hypothesis: Regular acetaminophen improves pain control in cancer patients who are already on strong opioid regimens.


Minimum age: 18 Years. Maximum age: N/A. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria: 1. Patients diagnosed with malignancy who have persistent pain which is believed by the investigator to be due to their cancer, and whose analgesic regimen has been stabilised on > 60mg of morphine equivalents/day. 2. Age > 18 years 3. Performance status of 0-2 by the European Co-operative Oncology Group (ECOG) Performance Scale 4. Sufficient English skills to be able to complete the daily diary, BPI and to understand the consent form 5. Signed informed consent Exclusion Criteria: 1. Patient has no pain (0/10 on NRS). 2. Patients with severe pain are excluded, however once their pain control is optimised they are eligible. 3. Patient has received radiation therapy in the six weeks prior to commencing the study or is likely to require radiotherapy during the study period. 4. Patient has commenced, or had dose modifications, to either non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids in the week prior to commencing the study, or during the two-week study period. 5. Patient has commenced chemotherapy or hormone therapy in the 4 weeks prior to the study or is expected to commence chemotherapy or hormonotherapy during the study period. Patients who are stable on long-term chemotherapy or hormones are eligible for this study. Patients who receive high dose steroids as antiemetics with their chemotherapy are eligible providing they are not receiving the steroids during the study period. 6. Patient has a contraindication to acetaminophen. 7. Use of acetaminophen in the 48 hours prior to commencement of the study period. 8. Abnormal laboratory values:

- Absolute neutrophil count < 1. 5 X 10^9/L and white blood cell (WBC) count < 3 X


- Platelet count < 100 X 10^9/L

- Liver transaminases > 2. 5 X upper limit of normal

- Bilirubin > 1. 5 X upper limit of normal

- Creatinine > 1. 5 X upper limit of normal

Locations and Contacts

Janette Vardy, MD, Phone: +61297675000, Email: jvardy@med.usyd.edu.au

Sydney Cancer Centre, Sydney, New South Wales 2139, Australia; Recruiting
Janette Vardy, MD PhD, Phone: +61297675000, Email: jvardy@med.usyd.edu.au
Haryana Dhillon, Phone: +61290365392, Email: haryana@dhillon-pack.net

Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2M9, Canada; Recruiting
Ian Tannock, MD, Phone: 1416 946 2245, Email: ian.tannock@uhn.on.ca
David Warr, MD, Phone: 1 416 946 4566, Email: david.warr@uhn.on.ca
Janette Vardy, MD, Principal Investigator
David Warr, MD, Principal Investigator

Additional Information

Starting date: July 2005
Last updated: June 4, 2009

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

-- advertisement -- The American Red Cross
Home | About Us | Contact Us | Site usage policy | Privacy policy

All Rights reserved - Copyright DrugLib.com, 2006-2017