OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the relative efficacy and tolerability of tapentadol immediate release (IR) and oxycodone IR for management of moderate to severe pain following orthopedic surgery (bunionectomy). METHODS: Randomized patients (N = 901) received oral tapentadol IR 50 or 75 mg, oxycodone HCl IR 10 mg, or placebo every 4-6 h over a 72-h period following surgery. Acetaminophen (< or =2 g) was allowed in the first 12 h after the first dose of study drug. In the primary analysis, tapentadol IR (50 and 75 mg) was evaluated for efficacy superior to placebo and non-inferior to oxycodone HCl IR 10 mg (using sum of pain intensity difference [SPID] over 48 h), and tolerability superior to oxycodone IR (using incidence of treatment-emergent adverse events [TEAEs] of nausea and/or vomiting). RESULTS: Statistically significantly higher mean SPID(48) values were observed with tapentadol IR (50 and 75 mg) and oxycodone HCl IR 10 mg than placebo (all p < 0.001). The efficacy of tapentadol IR 50 mg and 75 mg was non-inferior to oxycodone HCl IR 10 mg. The incidence of TEAEs of nausea and/or vomiting was statistically significantly lower with tapentadol IR 50 mg versus oxycodone IR 10 mg (35 vs. 59%; p < 0.001). No statistically significant difference in the incidence of nausea and/or vomiting was observed between tapentadol IR 75 mg and oxycodone IR 10 mg (51 vs. 59%; p = 0.057). A possible limitation of this study was that the intense dose and patient monitoring may not represent real-world situations and may result in higher incidences of TEAEs than expected in a practice setting; this bias would be similar for all treatment groups. CONCLUSIONS: Clinically meaningful and statistically significant improvements were observed with tapentadol IR 50 mg and 75 mg compared with placebo for the relief of moderate-to-severe acute pain after orthopedic surgery. Tapentadol IR 50 mg and 75 mg were non-inferior to oxycodone HCl IR 10 mg for the treatment of acute pain based on the primary efficacy endpoint of SPID(48) and the pre-specified margin of 48 points. The incidence of nausea and/or vomiting was statistically significantly lower for tapentadol IR 50 mg and numerically lower for tapentadol IR 75 mg than for oxycodone HCl IR 10 mg.
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