Immediate-release tapentadol or oxycodone for treatment of acute postoperative pain after elective arthroscopic shoulder surgery: A randomized, phase IIIb study


  • Gary J. Vorsanger, PhD, MD
  • Angela M. Klopfer, BS
  • Jim Xiang, PhD
  • Carmela J. Benson, MS
  • Bruce L. Moskovitz, MD
  • Norman R. Rosenthal, MD



tapentadol, oxycodone, postoperative pain, shoulder surgery


Objective: Arthroscopic shoulder surgery can result in substantial postoperative pain. This study evaluated the efficacy and safety of tapentadol immediate release (IR) or oxycodone IR in this setting for the treatment of acute pain.

Design: Subjects received tapentadol IR 50 or 100 mg or oxycodone IR 5 or 10 mg every 4-6 hours as needed for pain up to 7 days after arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Twice daily, subjects recorded pain intensity from 0 (no pain) to 10 (pain as bad as you can imagine) and pain relief from 0 (none) to 5 (complete). Final assessments included patient and clinician global impression of change and subject satisfaction with treatment. The primary efficacy endpoint was the sum of pain intensity differences (SPID) over 3 days.

Results: Of 378 subjects (192 tapentadol IR, 186 oxycodone IR) who took study medication, 312 (158 tapentadol IR, 154 oxycodone IR) had pain intensity 4 before the first dose and were evaluated for efficacy. Mean SPID scores over 3 days were 32.1 and 41.1 in the tapentadol IR and oxycodone IR groups, respectively (least-squares mean difference [95% confidence interval], 9.0 [-18.9, 36.9]; p = 0.527). Secondary analyses of pain intensity, pain relief, and subject satisfaction were similar between groups. Subjects and clinicians reported significantly better global impression of change for tapentadol IR. Adverse events were consistent with established safety profiles for IR opioids.

Conclusions: Tapentadol IR and oxycodone IR had similar efficacy for pain after arthroscopic shoulder surgery, but subjects and clinicians reported greater overall improvement with tapentadol IR.

Author Biographies

Gary J. Vorsanger, PhD, MD

Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC, Raritan, New Jersey

Angela M. Klopfer, BS

Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC, Raritan, New Jersey

Jim Xiang, PhD

Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC, Raritan, New Jersey

Carmela J. Benson, MS

Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC, Raritan, New Jersey

Bruce L. Moskovitz, MD

Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC, Raritan, New Jersey

Norman R. Rosenthal, MD

Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC, Raritan, New Jersey


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How to Cite

Vorsanger, PhD, MD, G. J., A. M. Klopfer, BS, J. Xiang, PhD, C. J. Benson, MS, B. L. Moskovitz, MD, and N. R. Rosenthal, MD. “Immediate-Release Tapentadol or Oxycodone for Treatment of Acute Postoperative Pain After Elective Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery: A Randomized, Phase IIIb Study”. Journal of Opioid Management, vol. 9, no. 4, July 2013, pp. 281-90, doi:10.5055/jom.2013.0170.