The MERITO Study: A multicentre trial of the analgesic effect and tolerability of normal-release oral morphine during 'titration phase' in patients with cancer pain

Franco De Conno, Carla Ida Ripamonti, Elena Fagnoni, C. Brunelli, M. Luzzani, Marco Maltoni, Edoardo Arcuri, Oscar Bertetto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Adequate and rapid pain control is one of the main goals of cancer pain treatment. The objective of this study was to assess the effect and tolerability of oral normal-release morphine during the initial phase of treatment in patients with moderate-to-severe cancer pain. Consecutive patients naïve to strong opioids received normal-release morphine 5 or 10 mg every 4 h during the titration phase (first 5 days), depending on previous analgesic therapy. Pain intensity was assessed using an 11-point Numerical Rating Scale (0-10), and data were recorded in a patient-compiled diary. The primary endpoint was the proportion of time with pain control (a reduction of at least 50% with respect to the baseline pain score) during the titration phase. A total of 159 consecutive patients (102 men; mean age 65 years) with cancer-related pain were enrolled. Pain control was observed for 75% (95% CI 70-80) of the follow-up period in the intent-to-treat population. Overall, 50% and 75% of patients achieved pain control within 8 and 24 h after starting normal-release morphine therapy respectively. The mean pain score was 7.63 points at baseline, and decreased to 2.43 and 1.67 points (both P <0.00 1) at days 3 and 5 respectively. The most commonly reported adverse events were somnolence (24% of patients), constipation (22%), vomiting (13%), nausea (10%) and confusion (7%). Normal-release morphine results in rapid and satisfactory pain control, and is well tolerated, during the strong-opioid titration phase in patients with moderate-to-severe cancer pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-221
Number of pages8
JournalPalliative Medicine
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008

Keywords

  • Cancer pain
  • Morphine
  • Normal release
  • Oral
  • Tolerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Nursing(all)

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