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Breakthrough pain and its treatment: critical review and recommendations of IOPS (Italian Oncologic Pain Survey) expert group

Journal title
Supportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer
Publication year
Mercadante, S.; Marchetti, P.; Cuomo, A.; Mammucari, M.; Caraceni, A.; Iops Ms study Group

Controversies exist about the definition and epidemiology of breakthrough cancer pain (BTcP), the pharmacological treatment options, drug dosing, and how to select the medications for BTcP among the new fentanyl products. Existing data were critically evaluated to provide recommendations by an expert group. An algorithm to diagnose BTcP should be used followed by a careful assessment. Fentanyl products provide efficacy and rapidity of action to counteract the temporal pattern of BTcP. The doses of opioids used for background pain should guide the choice of the doses of fentanyl products. The choice of fentanyl products should be based on individual clinical conditions.

Research abstracts