Naloxone for the Treatment of Opioid-Induced Pruritus

2014-07-24 14:09:57 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of this study is to improve how we treat itching, a common side effect associated with the use of morphine pain medication. Itching is a problem experienced by up to 30% of the children treated with pain medications in the morphine family.

Despite studies demonstrating the effectiveness of using naloxone to treat itchiness in adults receiving morphine pain medications, there are not many studies in children. This study is designed to study how well naloxone works for treatment of itching in children


Hypothesis: Naloxone co-administered simultaneously with standard Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) basal and bolus morphine will significantly reduce the incidence of Opioid Induced Pruritus (OIP) without affecting analgesia or opioid consumption in children.

Specific Objectives:

1. To determine if naloxone (12 µg/ml) mixed in a single infusion with morphine (1 mg/ml) will be effective in the prevention of opioid induced pruritus (OIP).

2. To determine if treatment with naloxone will result in attenuation of analgesia or an increase in opioid utilisation.

3. To determine if treatment with naloxone will reduce other opioid induced side effects such as nausea and vomiting.

Methods: This study is divided into two phases. Phase 1 - Although, there are studies confirming the compatibility of morphine (4 mg/mL) with naloxone (16 µg/mL) in separate infusion pumps run into the same intravenous site, there are no studies confirming the chemical and physical compatibility of morphine and naloxone in the same syringe with the standard concentrations used at BCCH. Therefore, a compatibility and stability study of naloxone and morphine solution in the same syringe will be performed.

Phase 2 - Phase 2 is a blinded clinical trial where 70 subjects will be randomized to receive either morphine mixed with naloxone or morphine mixed with placebo.With institutional review board approval, and written parental/guardian informed consent (and assent if appropriate), we will recruit children, ages 5-16 years, receiving intravenous opioids via PCA for post-operative pain control. Subjects will be evaluated every 4 hr for pain scores, frequency of vomiting, nausea, pruritus, sedation, and respiratory depression. At 24 and 48 hr, the total morphine consumption will be calculated.

Data analysis: Differences in the incidence and intensity of pruritus between the two groups will be compared. We will review side effects using the following control variables: (1) demographic data; and (2) summation of opioid use in each 4 hr period for total opioid consumption. ANOVA and crosstabs will be used where appropriate to analyze data.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Active Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator), Primary Purpose: Prevention




Naloxone, Saline/Morphine


British Columbia Children's Hospital Department of Anesthesia
British Columbia
V6H 3V4


Not yet recruiting


University of British Columbia

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-24T14:09:57-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A potent inhibitor of membrane metalloendopeptidase (ENKEPHALINASE). Thiorphan potentiates morphine-induced ANALGESIA and attenuates naloxone-precipitated withdrawal symptoms.

A pharmaceutical preparation that combines buprenorphine, an OPIOID ANALGESIC with naloxone, a NARCOTIC ANTAGONIST to reduce the potential for NARCOTIC DEPENDENCE in the treatment of pain. It may also be used for OPIATE SUBSTITUTION THERAPY.

Derivative of noroxymorphone that is the N-cyclopropylmethyl congener of NALOXONE. It is a narcotic antagonist that is effective orally, longer lasting and more potent than naloxone, and has been proposed for the treatment of heroin addiction. The FDA has approved naltrexone for the treatment of alcohol dependence.

The principal alkaloid in opium and the prototype opiate analgesic and narcotic. Morphine has widespread effects in the central nervous system and on smooth muscle.

An opioid analgesic made from MORPHINE and used mainly as an analgesic. It has a shorter duration of action than morphine.

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