Oxycodone for Cancer-Related Pain: Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

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To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of oxycodone in cancer-related pain, we conducted a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Four studies, comparing oral oxycodone with either oral morphine (n = 3) or oral hydromorphone (n = 1), were suitable for meta-analysis. Standardized mean differences in pain scores comparing oxycodone with control groups were pooled using random-effects models. Overall, there was no evidence that mean pain scores differed between oxycodone and control drugs (pooled standardized mean difference, 0.04; 95% confidence interval [CI], −0.29 to 0.36; P = .8; I2 = 62%). In meta-regression analyses, pain scores were higher for oxycodone compared with morphine (0.20; 95% CI, −0.04 to 0.44) and lower compared with hydromorphone (−0.36; 95% CI, −0.71 to 0.00), although these effect sizes were small. The efficacy and tolerability of oxycodone are similar to morphine, supporting its use as an opioid for cancer-related pain.

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