Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit

Cefalù, Italy

Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit

Cefalù, Italy

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Mercadante S.,Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit | Mercadante S.,University of Palermo
Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology | Year: 2011

Breakthrough cancer pain (BTcP) has been defined as a transitory increase in pain intensity on a baseline pain of moderate intensity in patients on analgesic treatment regularly administered. This review provides updated information about the use of opioids for the treatment of BTcP, with special emphasis on the use of new rapid onset opioids (ROOs). Due to its slow onset to effect oral opioids cannot be considered an efficacious treatment for BTcP. Parenteral opioids may provide rapid onset of analgesia, but not always available particularly at home. Different technologies have been developed to provide fast pain relief with potent opioid drugs such fentanyl, delivered by non-invasive routes. Transmucosal administration of lipophilic substances has gained a growing popularity in the last years, due to the rapid effect clinically observable 10-15. min after drug administration, obtainable in non-invasive forms. Fentanyl is a potent and strongly lipophilic drug, which matches the characteristics to favour the passage through the mucosa and then across the blood-brain barrier to provide fast analgesia. Transmucosal, buccal, sublingual, and intranasal fentanyl showed their efficacy in comparison with oral morphine or placebo and are available for clinical use in most countries. All the studies performed with ROOs have recommended that these drugs should be administered to opioid-tolerant patients receiving doses of oral morphine equivalents of at least 60 mg. The choice of the dose of ROO to be prescribed as needed remains controversial. The need of titrating opioid doses for BTcP has been commonly recommended in all the controlled studies, but has never been substantiated in appropriate studies. © 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Mercadante S.,Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit | Mercadante S.,University of Palermo
Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care | Year: 2013

Purpose of review Cancer pain management is in continuous innovation and new data are available that could change the therapeutical approach and guidelines. Recent findings There are different fields of research that produce new data and interesting findings. The principal data regard the factors influencing the analgesic response, breakthrough cancer pain management, opioid switching, and pharmacogenetics. Summary The findings reported in this review provide new ideas to be developed in further studies to confirm or not confirm some suggestive data. © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


Mercadante S.,University of Palermo | Mercadante S.,Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit
Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy | Year: 2012

Introduction : Breakthrough cancer pain has been defined as a transitory increase in pain intensity that occurs either spontaneously or in relation to a specific predictable or unpredictable trigger, despite relatively stable and adequately controlled background pain. The availability of supplemental doses of oral opioids, in addition to the continuous analgesic medication, is the main treatment suggested to manage pain flares. Areas covered : Oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate (OTFC) is the first product of a new generation of delivery systems, named rapid-onset opioids (ROOs), characterized by rapidity of effect and the short duration of analgesia. Controlled studies and long-term experience have shown that OTFC is an effective treatment for breakthrough pain management and its use should be considered in any patient experiencing breakthrough pain related to cancer. Expert opinion : The onset of action of OTFC demonstrated to start within 15 min and the short time to maximum concentration make it a useful indication for breakthrough pain; dose titration is commonly recommended. However, it is likely that patients receiving high doses of opioids for background analgesia will not be candidates for titration with minimal initial doses of OTFC, as they are opioid tolerant and the process would be time consuming. © 2012 Informa UK, Ltd.


Mercadante S.,Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit | Mercadante S.,University of Palermo
Current Pain and Headache Reports | Year: 2014

Whereas most pain due to cancer can be relieved with relatively simple methods using oral analgesics, as suggested by WHO guidelines, some patients may have difficult pain situations that require more complex approaches. It is estimated that 10-20 % of cancer patients suffer from pain that is not easily relieved. There are a number of factors that may reduce the efficacy of opioids in the management of cancer pain. Neuropathic pain (NP) and breakthrough pain (BP), especially of the incident subtype, have been identified as challenges for clinicians. In several prognostic studies, these two mechanisms were associated with limited positive outcomes compared with other syndromes. Opioid-induced hyperalgesia has recently been described as representing a challenge for physicians in the clinical setting. The global response to opioids, including the development of adverse effects, typically varies by individual and is likely genetically determined. Moreover, clinical evidence suggests that different opioids may produce different effect profiles, and so it is more appropriate to consider the response to each individual opioid rather than general opioid response. This paper will review both pharmacological and procedural mechanisms and treatments of these difficult pain syndromes. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York.


Mercadante S.,Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit | Porzio G.,University of L'Aquila | Gebbia V.,La Maddalena Cancer Center
Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology | Year: 2012

In the nineties, spinal analgesia has been described as an useful means to control pain in advanced cancer patients. The aim of this review was to update this information with a systematic analysis of studies performed in the last 10 years. 27 papers pertinent with the topic selected for review were collected according to selection criteria. Few studies added further information on spinal analgesia in last decade. Despite a lack of a clinical evidence, spinal analgesia with a combination of opioids, principally morphine, and local anesthetics may allow to achieve analgesia in patients who had been intensively treated unsuccessfully with different trials of opioids. Some adjuvant drugs such as clonidine, ketamine, betamethasone, meperidine, and ziconotide may be promising agents, but several problems have to be solved before they can be used in the daily practice. In complex pain situations, spinal analgesia should not be negated to cancer patients, and oncologists should address this group of patients to other specialists. © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Mercadante S.,Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit
Current Pain and Headache Reports | Year: 2011

Breakthrough cancer pain (BTcP) has been defined as a transitory increase in pain intensity on a baseline pain of moderate intensity in patients on regularly administered analgesic treatment. This review provides updated information about the classification, assessment, and treatment of BTcP, with special emphasis on the use of opioids. Due to its slow onset to effect, oral opioids cannot be considered an efficacious treatment of BTcP. More recently, different technologies have been developed to provide fast pain relief with potent opioid drugs, such as fentanyl, delivered by noninvasive routes. Transmucosal, buccal, sublingual, and intranasal fentanyl have been shown to provide rapid analgesia in comparison with oral morphine or placebo and are available for clinical use in most countries. All the studies performed with these delivery systems have recommended that these drugs should be administered to opioid-tolerant patients receiving doses of oral morphine equivalents of at least 60 mg. The need of titrating opioid doses for BTcP has been commonly recommended in all the controlled studies, but never has been substantiated in appropriate studies. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


Mercadante S.,Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit
Surgical Oncology | Year: 2010

Postoperative pain is often underestimated in elderly patients, based on considerations of the limited function of kidney and liver with advancing age or presumed high threshold of pain sensation. Achieving adequate pain management for the older patient is complicated by comorbid diseases, increased risk of adverse drug reactions, and physician factors such as inadequate training and reluctance to prescribe opioid medications. Anticholinergic load has been related to impaired cognitive and physical function. Older patients are more likely than younger patients to have impaired physical status. Cognitive problems frequently observed may make evaluation of pain difficult. Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) permits analgesic titration according to the patient's own needs and greatly reduces the risk of overdose because of increased individual sensitivity to analgesic drugs. The success of such a technique depends on close evaluation of all preoperative and intraoperative factors that can cause or contribute to acute delirium. In the present paper we review the literature on this pivotal field. © 2009 Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Mercadante S.,Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit | Porzio G.,University of L'Aquila | Gebbia V.,Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit
Journal of Clinical Oncology | Year: 2014

Despite the skilled use of opioid analgesics, which is crucial to the relief of cancer pain, there is a lack of evidence to support many aspects of current clinical practice. Therefore, there is a significant need for more effective treatment options. New opioids have been marketed in the past years, including hydrocodone and oxymorphone. Moreover, mixed opioids with combined mechanisms of action have been developed; one such agent, tapentadol, is a centrally acting oral analgesic that possesses a combined mechanism of action: μ-opioid receptor activation with norepinephrine reuptake inhibition. Drug development strategies involving naloxone have been initiated to reduce peripheral opioid-related adverse effects. The rationale is based on the local antagonist activity of naloxone in intestinal opioid receptors and the negligible oral bioavailability of naloxone, particularly in a prolonged-release formulation. New delivery systems have been developed to provide rapid analgesia with potent opioid drugs such as fentanyl. Despite the upcoming availability of these new drugs and technologies that will add to existing types of opioid medication, their benefits and liabilities will ultimately need to be determined by the individual physician and individual patient experiencing pain. © 2014 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.


Mercadante S.,Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit | Villari P.,Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit | Ferrera P.,Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management | Year: 2011

Anticholinergic drugs, including atropine, hyoscine butylbromide, and scopolamine, have been shown to be equally effective in the treatment of death rattle. However, anticholinergic drugs may only be effective in reducing the production of further secretions, rather than eliminating the existing ones. A case is described in which a preventive procedure was undertaken to carefully eliminate secretions before starting anticholinergic drugs. Airway aspiration under light anesthesia removed secretions before starting anticholinergic drugs. Low doses of propofol were given intravenously to make a laryngoscopy feasible, allowing the complete aspiration of large amounts of tracheal secretions. No death rattle was perceived until death. Relatives were satisfied with the treatment and the peaceful death. Antisecretory agents may only prevent further accumulation of fluids along the airways and in the pharynx. The use of these drugs, supplemented by this aspiration procedure in carefully selected patients, may help eliminate death rattle in patients with advanced illness who are unable to cough or swallow. Explanation and reassurance to relieve fears and concerns regarding a procedure aimed to improve the quality of end-of-life care are of paramount importance, and active collaboration in decision making facilitates a timely intervention. This preliminary experience may help further research on the best treatment at the end of life. © 2011 U.S. Cancer Pain Relief Committee. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Mercadante S.,Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit
Internal and Emergency Medicine | Year: 2010

In the last decades, studies validating the WHO analgesic ladder have been shown to have methodological limitations and different problems are unresolved due to a lack of controlled studies on this subject. These problems include a better definition of the role of NSAIDs, the prolonged use of NSAIDs in cancer pain, and the utility of step 2. Moreover, the indications for using different strong opioids and alternate routes of administration to improve pain relief in difficult pain situations are not well established. The proportion of patients who do not benefit from these treatments remain unclear, and how the opioid response may be improved with the use of adjuvants is also uncertain. This review will offer an update on these problems and the existing therapeutic opportunities. © 2010 SIMI.

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