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Trial Comparing Morphine to Hydromorphone in Elderly Patients With Severe Pain

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00305058
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : March 21, 2006
Results First Posted : August 20, 2018
Last Update Posted : August 20, 2018
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Andrew Chang, MD, Montefiore Medical Center

Brief Summary:
The purpose of this research study is to determine which opiate pain medication (morphine or hydromorphone (Dilaudid)) is more effective in the treatment of acute pain in patients presenting to the emergency department.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Acute Pain Drug: Morphine Drug: Hydromorphone Phase 2 Phase 3

Detailed Description:

Pain is cited as the most frequent reason for visit to emergency departments (EDs) . It can be estimated from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, an annual survey of a representative sample of visits to US EDs, that there are 17 million visits per year to US EDs for specific complaints of pain, 29 million visits including "back symptoms" and "injuries not otherwise specified" as well as specific mentions of pain. However it is widely acknowledged that pain is seriously under-treated in the ED as well as in other health care settings. The concern regarding under-treatment is reflected in new standards for pain management developed by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) requiring assessment of pain at triage in the ED and referring to pain measurement as the "fifth vital sign".

Proper pain management is a tremendous challenge to ED physicians as pain is not only a noxious experience but also a symptom of injury and disease that needs to be understood and appropriately treated. Further complicating pain management is the large interpersonal variability in pain perception and expression reflecting cultural, contextual, and individual differences between people. Reasons for under-treating pain include concern over side effects of opioids, perception of pain complaints as possible drug-seeking behavior, under-staffing, concern that analgesics will mask symptoms, delay early diagnosis, treatment, and contribute to risks of tolerance and dependence in vulnerable patients.

The elderly represent a group of patients who may experience pain differently from the non-elderly patient. This growing population has been significantly underrepresented in pain-related studies. Some studies have shown that the elderly are at risk for "oligoanalgesia" and receive inadequate doses of pain medication.

Morphine has long been considered the gold standard in pain control. Hydromorphone is another powerful opiate that has been used extensively for the management of post-operative pain and morphine-resistant cancer-related pain. A recent Cochrane review on the use of hydromorphone found 32 studies that focused on acute pain. Of these 32 studies, only 9 involved intravenous forms of hydromorphone. Of these 8 studies, 5 involved patient controlled analgesia, and only 1 study compared intravenous (IV) hydromorphone to IV morphine. The Cochrane review concludes that there are gaps in the understanding of the efficacy and potency of hydromorphone. Only 1 study of hydromorphone in the ED could be located and this compared IV hydromorphone versus IV meperidine in patients with ureteral colic. Although this study showed hydromorphone was superior at all time periods and had fewer side effects, the study used fixed doses of hydromorphone (1mg) and meperidine (50mg).

It has been the clinical experience of some ED physicians that hydromorphone may be a better opiate in patients presenting to the ED with acute pain. Hydromorphone is also the opiate that is usually given if morphine does not adequately control a patient's pain in the ED.

Hydromorphone may also have other benefits, such as a faster onset since it is more lipophilic than morphine and crosses the blood-brain barrier faster.

If it is shown that hydromorphone gives better pain relief to patients with comparable or fewer side effects when compared with morphine, then we may be able to provide evidence to suggest that hydromorphone should be the parenteral opiate of choice for adult ED patients presenting with acute pain of moderate to severe intensity.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 194 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Triple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: A Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Intravenous Morphine and Intravenous Hydromorphone in the Treatment of Adult ED Patients With Moderate to Severe Pain
Actual Study Start Date : July 2005
Actual Primary Completion Date : March 2007
Actual Study Completion Date : March 2007

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Hydromorphone
0.0075 mg/kg IV hydromorphone
Drug: Hydromorphone
0.0075 mg/kg intravenous
Other Name: Dilaudid

Active Comparator: Morphine
0.05 mg/kg IV morphine
Drug: Morphine
0.05 mg/kg Intravenous

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in Pain Intensity [ Time Frame: Baseline to 30 minutes after medication infused ]
    Pain scores are a measure of pain intensity and are measured on the numerical rating scale (NRS), from 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain imaginable). Participants are asked to rate their pain using this scale at baseline before any medication is administered and again 30 minutes after medication is infused

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Number of Participants With a Change in Pain Score [ Time Frame: Baseline to 30 minutes after medication infused ]
    Pain score is a measure of pain intensity using the numerical rating scale (NRS), from 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain imaginable). Data is separated into two groups: those with greater than or equal to 50% change in their pain score and those with less than 50% change in their pain score.

  2. Number of Participants With Pain Relief [ Time Frame: 30 minutes after medication infused ]
    Pain relief here is a subjective measure indicated by the following categories: No, Slight, Moderate, and Complete. Participants were asked to pick the category that best fit their level of pain relief 30 minutes after medication was infused.

  3. Number of Participants Satisfied With Pain Medication [ Time Frame: 30 minutes after medication infused ]
    Number of participants who were satisfied with pain medication received, based on their response of good to excellent or poor to fair. Participants were asked to pick which response best fit their satisfaction with the pain medication they received 30 minutes after that medication was infused "Good to Excellent" or "Poor to fair".

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   65 Years and older   (Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Age greater than 65 years
  2. Pain with onset within 7 days
  3. ED attending physician's judgment that patient's pain warrants use of parenteral opioids
  4. Normal mental status

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Prior use of methadone
  2. Use of other opioids or tramadol within past seven days
  3. Prior adverse reaction to morphine or hydromorphone
  4. Chronic pain syndrome
  5. Alcohol intoxication
  6. Systolic Blood Pressure <90 mm Hg
  7. Use of monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors in past 30 days
  8. Elderly patients with a capnometry reading of greater than 46

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00305058

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United States, New York
Montefiore Medical Center
Bronx, New York, United States, 10467
Sponsors and Collaborators
Montefiore Medical Center
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Principal Investigator: Andrew K Chang, MD Montefiore Medical Center
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Responsible Party: Andrew Chang, MD, Assistant Professor, Montefiore Medical Center Identifier: NCT00305058    
Other Study ID Numbers: MMC 04-08-225E
First Posted: March 21, 2006    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: August 20, 2018
Last Update Posted: August 20, 2018
Last Verified: August 2018
Keywords provided by Andrew Chang, MD, Montefiore Medical Center:
Emergency Department
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Acute Pain
Neurologic Manifestations
Analgesics, Opioid
Central Nervous System Depressants
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Sensory System Agents
Peripheral Nervous System Agents