Ongoing Study Confirms Place of Topical/Transdermal Opioids in the Pain Management Arsenal

Transdermal medication can be an effective alternative to opioids according to recent results from an ongoing study selected for presentation at the March 2017 American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) conference in Orlando. The OPERA (Optimizing Patient Experience and Response to Topical Analgesics) study assesses patient experience with FDA-approved topical and transdermal medications either used alone or in combination with neuropathic supplements. The study was initiated in October 2014, and presently tracks over 1000 male and female patients, aged 18 to 64. The work is conducted by Clarity, an Austin, Texas, based research company, and the current report represents the fourth interim analysis. The study’s principal investigators include PAINWeek senior faculty member Jeffrey Gudin, MD, director of pain and palliative care for Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, New York.

In the fourth interim readout, the results from previous analyses were confirmed, with study participants continuing to report a 45% reduction in opioid use and a “significant” reduction in the use of nonopioid medication to treat their neuropathic or musculoskeletal pain. Patients’ pain experience is recorded using the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) Short Form. Of the latest findings, Dr. Gudin observed, "We were inspired to undertake this study because clinically we have recognized a pain-relieving and opioid-sparing effect to topically applied analgesics and were pleased that this latest analysis is consistent with earlier interim results."

Read a news story about the findings here.



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