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J Opioid Manag. 2006 May-Jun;2(3):155-66.

The ACTION study: a randomized, open-label, multicenter trial comparing once-a-day extended-release morphine sulfate capsules (AVINZA) to twice-a-day controlled-release oxycodone hydrochloride tablets (OxyContin) for the treatment of chronic, moderate to severe low back pain.

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Carolinas Pain Institute, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Opioid Manag. 2006 Sep-Oct;2(5):276.


This large, open-label, randomized, parallel-group, multicenter study compared two oral sustained-release opioids (SROs)--AVINZA (A-MQD), morphine sulfate extended-release capsules given once a day, and OxyContin (O-ER), oxycodone modified-release tablets given twice a day--in SRO-naive subjects ages 30 to 70 with chronic, moderate to severe low back pain. Of the 392 subjects enrolled and randomized, 266 (132 in the A-MQD group and 134 in the O-ER group) completed the opioid dose titration phase and entered an eight-week evaluation phase. During the evaluation phase, A-MQD achieved significantly better pain control than O-ER, as demonstrated by a greater decrease from baseline in pain scores obtained four times daily during weeks one, four, and eight (p = 0.002). The number of breakthrough-pain rescue medication doses adjusted for the number of patient days was significantly lower in the A-MQD group (p < 0.0001). Better pain control with A-MQD was achieved with a significantly lower daily opioid dose than with O-ER (mean 69.9 mg and 91 mg morphine equivalents, respectively; p = 0.0125). Quality of sleep was significantly better with A-MQD for the entire evaluation phase (p = 0.0026). The incidence and severity of elicited opioid side effects were similar in the two groups. This trial demonstrated that once-daily A-MQD provides consistent around-the-clock pain relief in patients with low back pain. In patients who completed opioid dose titration, A-MQD was significantly better than O-ER for reducing pain and improving sleep, while requiring a lower daily opioid dose.

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