Studies Document Long-Term Benefits of Transdermal Buprenorphine

LAS VEGAS—Patients with moderate-to-severe chronic low-back pain and osteoarthritis who had significant gains in quality of life, sleep quality, functioning, and work productivity during 12-week core trials of continuous treatment with buprenorphine transdermal delivery system (Butrans) had these benefits maintained long-term, according to a posthoc analysis reported Rupa Shah, PharmD, of Purdue Pharma LP, Stamford, Connecticut, and colleagues.

Patients who opted into an open-label treatment extension phase following several 12-week, double-blind, randomized placebo/active-controlled trials received 5, 10, or 20 mcg/hour of buprenorphine for 6 to 12 months. Results showed that time was not significantly related to physical or mental dimensions of quality of life, sleep disturbance, sleep quality, functioning, or work productivity, net of other variables. Time predicted only pain interference; the BPI Interference scale score increased from 2.9 to 3.3 on a 0 to 10 scale over 12 months, which was statistically significant.

In a second study, Aaron Yarlas, PhD, of Optum, Lincoln, Rhode Island, and colleagues reported that patients with chronic low-back pain who received 12 weeks of treatment with buprenorphine showed greater reductions of pain
severity and interference and were twice more likely to be able to engage in several activities of daily living without pain interference—such as walking, working, and sleep—compared with patients who received placebo (ORs
range 1.83-2.27; all multiplicity-adjusted P<0.05). The posthoc analysis also found that patients treated with buprenorphine showed significantly less pain on the Severity and Interference scale of the BPI short-form, with scores approximately 1 point lower on all items (range: 0.83 to 1.14 on a 0 to 10 scale; all multiplicity-adjusted P<0.001).