Non-Morphine Cancer Pain Drug Seeing Efficacy

Non-Morphine Cancer Pain Drug Seeing Efficacy

German pharmaceutical company, Grünenthal, showed off some promising data recently on its novel drug, cebranopadol, stating it reached statistical significance in treating cancer-relate pain without the dangers of respiratory depression seen with morphine sulfate.

The company says the drug is an analgesic that acts as a nociceptin/orphanin FQ peptide (NOP) receptor and opioid receptor agonist.  They state it delivers both a comparable pain management to morphine sulfate PR (prolonged release), and an “improved safety profile, particularly as it relates to respiratory depression.”

“We are very proud to have discovered and developed this effective, well tolerated drug. Moreover, cebranopadol is clearly differentiated from other strong analgesics by its unique mechanism of action, improved safety profile with potentially limited effects on respiration and low abuse potential,” said Klaus-Dieter Langner, Chief Scientific Officer of Grünenthal.

“Cebranopadol addresses a high unmet medical need in several chronic pain types, and these new data show its potential in patients with cancer pain as well,” he added.

The data were presented at the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) 2016 meeting in Japan, and came from a Phase 3 randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, active-controlled multiple dose study with patients randomized to either once-daily cebranopadol or twice-daily morphine sulfate PR.

Results reached statistical significance for non-inferiority and also superiority for the primary endpoint (average amount of daily rescue medication intake over the last two weeks of the maintenance phase in the trial, p<0.05).

According to the company, the clinical trial was one of the largest conducted in cancer pain, but enrollment was “stopped for strategic reasons.”  The company did not provide additional information on why.

Cebranopadol has previously demonstrated strong efficacy in moderate-to-severe chronic neuropathic pain and musculoskeletal pain. In total, the drug has been studied in approximately 2,000 patients worldwide having completed several Phase II trials in diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), osteoarthritis (OA) and chronic low back pain (cLBP) and is ready for further Phase III development.

Subscribe to our blog via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Authored by: Staff

newest oldest
Notify of

I hope it works and I hope the DEA gets it out quickly if it does. I don’t understand why the DEA keeps taking away opiates from Pain patients who go to pain clinics with pain contracts! They are not addicted that is just what works for their pain. And this probably won’t come out for a very long time like a poster above says. Just stop the ban on opiates and go after the drug addicts. Leave the patients doctors and pharmacies alone and stop invading our privacy as well. I do not feel America is a free country at all except for the fact that I can speak on here but I don’t think it’ll do me any good because you people would rather us commit suicide then have a drug overdose. When the suicides start you guys better watch your backs because there are a lot more families and friends in our lives than there are of you! You’re going to get so much heat will not be able to tolerate it and then after that I hope you wind up in the worst pain imaginable! If anyone is reading this I do know that it’s a group of senators that started this whole thing and I’m going to find out who they are. I have about a hundred pain support groups and they have families and friends and we have all had it!

Tim Mason

I am trying tapentadol this month. It is two years away from a generic due to patent rights. I was skeptical at first. My morphine and oxy combined put me at 100 mg MME per day.
This medication has been a game changer for me. Supposedly it goes to work immediately (does not have to undergo hydrolysis in the gut to get converted like morphine sulfate).
I have a lot of scar tissue on nerve roots and some permanent nerve damage.
This is actually a good drug. Nucynta is the trade name.
I was curious if anyone else has tried it.

Jean Price

If it has an opioid antagonist in it, I’m wondering if it’s really new…or just another one of these trumped up”new” drugs that combines opiates with a Narcan type drug! It says it’s a “novel drug”…so I’m guessing that is the issue, although “stopping enrollment” for strategic issues seems a little suspect too! Im not getting my hopes up at this point! And if it’s German, it would still have to go through years and years of testing here. Not going to help now, for sure!

Guinevere W.

I heard that something called Kratom helps relieve chronic pain. It is leaves from a tree in Asia. People in Asia have used it for generations. Now that it is being used in the United States, the DEA is trying to make it a schedule I drug. The ruling has been delayed because many people, including scientists have asked for more time to investigate its potential for treatment of pain and withdrawal symptoms. It does not cause the respiratory depression that opioids do, which lead to so many deaths.
Do you have any information about this product?

Tim Mason

Tapentadol is an opioid.


I agree with LAURA. And so do the majority of us across the nation. Thanks, but no thanks. Opioids are tried and true and we know what all they will do. It ain’t broke, I ain’t leavin it.

Sure, let’s put Persons With Pain (PWP), on another new “miracle drug”, that the long term risks are completely unknown, because, as we all know, anybody who takes opioids for pain management and a quality of life just HAVE to be addicts.

I want to know why the drug was stopped for “strategic reasons” in the study. Let’s see how it does in a large population base over time.

You can prescribe it for me in about ten years, when we know how many people it kills (or doesn’t kill), due to unforseen or unknown alternative health risks. When there hasn’t been a rash of strokes or significant systemic damage from this amazing new miracle medication, then we can consider prescribing it for me.

Until then, leave my safe, effective, medically supervised opiates alone, thank you very much.

Glad it’s working for you, Tim, and I wish you all the best.


Tim Mason

I am trying tapentadol for severe back pain.This one is specifically for nerve pain and scar tissue pain. I was up to 100 morphine equivalent per day, From the name of this new drug I would say it is similar if not nearly identical. I got the ER formula 50 mg and I must say I can tell the difference. It is still schedule II opioid but it starts to work immediately in the spinal cord. I don’t feel as run down either.