Clinical and Translational Oncology

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 593–598 | Cite as

Fentanyl pectin nasal spray for painful mucositis in head and neck cancers during intensity-modulated radiation therapy with or without chemotherapy

  • R. Mazzola
  • F. Ricchetti
  • A. Fiorentino
  • N. Giaj-Levra
  • S. Fersino
  • U. Tebano
  • S. Albanese
  • S. Gori
  • F. Alongi
Research Article



The aim of the current analysis was to evaluate the effectiveness and tolerability of rapid onset opioid in a cohort of head and neck cancer (HNC) patients affected by painful mucositis influencing swallowing function during RT ± ChT with definitive or adjuvant intent.


A retrospective analysis was conduct on HNC patients during RT ± ChT that received fentanyl pectin na sal spray (FPNS) for incidental BTP due to painful mucositis 13 min before the main meals. The period of observation has been 90 days starting from the beginning of RT ± ChT.


Forty HNC patients with incidental BTP due to painful mucositis treated with FPNS were analyzed. The mean NRS of untreated episodes of BTP was 5.73 ± 1.54 decreasing to 2.25 ± 2.45 with FPNS (median dose 100 mcg). During the pain treatment, the number of meals increased from 2.08 ± 0.35 to 2.868 ± 0.4 (p = 0.000), and the BMI remained stable (from 25.086 ± 3.292 to 25.034 ± 3.090; p = 0.448). The 94.9% of patients was satisfied or very satisfied for the rapidity of the effect, and 97.4% for the easiness and convenience in the use.


FPNS showed an acceptable safety activity profile in predictable BTP due to painful mucositis in HNC patients during RT ± ChT. FPNS was also effective in reducing the mucositis sequelae and allowing the completion of RT scheduled scheme. Moreover, patients declared satisfaction in terms of ease of use.


Fentanyl nasal spray Mucositis Pain Head and neck cancer Radiotherapy 



We wish to thank Stella Baffini for her valuable contribution.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We wish to confirm that there are no known conflicts of interest associated with this publication and there has been no financial support for this work that could have influenced its outcome.


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Copyright information

© Federación de Sociedades Españolas de Oncología (FESEO) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Mazzola
    • 1
  • F. Ricchetti
    • 1
  • A. Fiorentino
    • 1
  • N. Giaj-Levra
    • 1
  • S. Fersino
    • 1
  • U. Tebano
    • 2
  • S. Albanese
    • 3
  • S. Gori
    • 4
  • F. Alongi
    • 1
  1. 1.Radiation Oncology DivisionSacro Cuore Don Calabria Cancer Care CenterNegrarItaly
  2. 2.Radiation Oncology SchoolUniversity of PadovaPaduaItaly
  3. 3.Head and Neck SurgerySacro Cuore Don Calabria Cancer Care CenterNegrarItaly
  4. 4.Medical Oncology Sacro Cuore Don Calabria Cancer Care CenterNegrarItaly

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