The goal of this clinical research study is to learn if an investigational dose of fentanyl
sublingual spray (FSS) can help to control pain in patients with advanced cancer when given
in an outpatient and inpatient setting.
Study Visits and Study Drug Administration:
This study has 2 stages. Stage 1 will be completed while you are in the inpatient unit of
the hospital and Stage 2 will be completed after you are discharged from the hospital.
While you are in the hospital, if you have a pain episode, the research nurse will give you
a single dose of your current pain medication from your existing infusion pump. You will
then be asked to rate your current level of pain . You will also be asked if you are having
any side effects at 15 minutes and at 30 minutes after the dose has been administered. You
will also complete the 4 tests of mental abilities after about 30 minutes.
If after 1-4 hours you have another episode of pain, you will be given a single dose of FSS.
You will spray FSS under your tongue and hold it there for about 30-60 seconds before
swallowing. You will be asked about your current level of pain at about 15 minutes and 30
minutes after your dose of FSS. You will also complete the 4 tests of mental abilities after
about 30 minutes. If you do not feel any pain relief after 30 minutes, you will spray FSS 1
more time under your tongue and you will repeat the pain and mental ability tests.
If you still do not feel any pain relief after about 4 hours from the last dose of FSS, you
will spray a double dose of FSS under your tongue up to 2 times and your pain level and
mental abilities will be tested at 15 and 30 minutes after each dose.
You may receive FSS up to 4 times total while you are in the hospital.
After your last dose of FSS, you will complete a questionnaire about how your symptoms are
after receiving FSS. This should take about 2 minutes to complete.
End of Stage 1:
If FSS was able to help you control your pain, you will stop taking FSS and go back to
receiving your regular pain medication for the rest of your hospital stay. When you are
discharged from the hospital, you will continue on to Stage 2 of the study (described below)
to receive FSS for up to 4 weeks at home. Before you are sent home, you will also be
prescribed pain medication to take in addition to the FSS, if needed. Your doctor will
explain how to take this medication before you are discharged.
If FSS was not able to help control your pain, your participation in this study will end and
you will continue to be treated with standard pain medications.
If you are taking part in Stage 2, you will use FSS as your first choice of pain medication
instead of oral pain medication for pain for up to 4 weeks. At any time that you have a pain
episode, you will spray FSS under your tongue.
You will always have the choice of using the pain medication your doctor prescribed to you
as a backup every 2 hours as needed for pain. However, it is very important that you do NOT
use the oral pain medications at the same time as FSS. If you still have pain after taking
FSS, you must wait at least 2 hours before using your pain medications. After 2 more hours
if you have another episode of pain, you may use another dose of FSS for pain relief.
Do not take more than 4 doses of FSS each day.
You will be given a patient diary to write down each day your pain level, how many times you
used FSS, and any side effects you may have. You will be called at least 2 times each week
by a member of the study staff to discuss your diary and to answer any questions you may
have. The study staff will also ask you which pain medication you are using besides FSS, how
easy you think it is to use FSS, how effective you think FSS is, and how satisfied you are
with your current pain medications. Each phone call should last about 10 minutes.
After Day 28, you will complete a questionnaire over the phone about your opinion of this
research study. This should take about 5 minutes to complete.
Length of Study:
Your active participation in this study is over after you complete the last questionnaire.
You will be taken off study if intolerable side effects occur or if you are unable to follow
About 30 days after your study visit, you will be called by the study staff and asked how
you are feeling and about any side effects you may be having. This call should last about 10
This is an investigational study. FSS is FDA approved and commercially available for the
treatment of pain in cancer patients. It is considered investigational to use the dose of
FSS used in this study and to use FSS both in inpatient and outpatient settings.
About 30 participants will be enrolled in this study. All will take part at MD Anderson.
1. Patients with advanced cancer (locally advanced, metastatic, recurrent and/or
2. Opioid tolerant, taking daily doses of strong opioid pain medication in the past 1
3. On strong opioid intravenous continuous infusion MEDD >=70 mg/day at the time of
4. Inpatient at MD Anderson seen by palliative care team.
5. Background cancer pain that is <=3/10 in the last 24 hours.
6. Breakthrough cancer pain that is >=4/10 in the last 24 hours.
7. Stable pain control defined as rescue doses <=6 in last 24 hours.
8. Age >=18
9. Ability to communicate in English
1. Memorial Delirium Assessment Scale >13/30
2. History of opioid abuse
3. CAGE positivity (>=2/4)
4. Allergy to fentanyl
5. Grade 2 or higher oral mucositis
6. Unable/unwilling to sign consent