A comparison of change in the 0-10 numeric rating scale to a pain relief scale and global medication performance scale in a short-term clinical trial of breakthrough pain intensity

John T. Farrar, Rosemary C. Polomano, Jesse A. Berlin, Brian L. Strom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Pain intensity is commonly reported using a 0-10 Numeric Rating Scale in pain clinical trials. Analysis of the change on the Pain Intensity Numerical Rating Scale as a proportion has most consistently correlated with clinically important differences reported on the patient's global impression of change. The correlation of data from patients with breakthrough pain with a Pain Relief Scale and a different global outcome measures will extend our understanding of these measures. Methods: Data were obtained from the open titration phase of a multiple crossover, randomized, double-blind clinical trial comparing oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate with immediate-release oral morphine sulfate for the treatment of cancer-related breakthrough pain. Raw and percentage changes in the pain intensity scores from 1,307 episodes of pain in 134 oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate-naïve patients were correlated with the clinically relevant secondary outcomes of Pain Relief Verbal Response Scale and the global medication performance scale. The changes in raw and percentage change were assessed over time and compared with the ordinal Pain Relief Verbal Response Scale and Global Medication Performance Scale. Results: The P value of the interaction between the raw pain intensity difference was significant (P = 0.034) for four 15-min time periods but not for the percentage pain intensity difference score (P = 0.26). We found similar results in comparison with the ordinal Pain Relief Verbal Response Scale (P = 0.0048 and P = 0.36 respectively) and global medication performance categories (P = 0.048 and P = 0.45, respectively). CONCLUSION:: The change in pain intensity in breakthrough pain was more consistent over time and when compared with both the Pain Relief Verbal Response Scale and the Global Medication Performance Scale when the percentage change is used rather than raw pain intensity difference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1464-1472
Number of pages9
JournalAnesthesiology
Volume112
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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