Stability of Morphine Sulfate-Clonidine and Sufentanil-Clonidine Mixtures



      Spinal analgesia is recommended for intractable cancer pain. Morphine-clonidine and sufentanil-clonidine are often used in association in intrathecal drug delivery systems, injected by intraabdominal pumps. To refill these pumps and to limit patient transport, it may be necessary to ship the mixtures in polypropylene syringes to peripheral establishments located near patient homes. The purpose of this study is to determine the stability of morphine-clonidine and sufentanil-clonidine mixtures in polypropylene syringes to ensure the best and safest transport conditions and in implantable pumps for intrathecal use.

      Materials and Methods

      The stability study method was conceived according to the International Council for Harmonization guidelines. For polypropylene syringes, four different mixtures of morphine-clonidine and sufentanil-clonidine were assessed over seven days. Two storage temperatures were tested (5 ± 3 °C and 25 ± 2 °C). For implantable pumps, two different mixtures of morphine-clonidine and sufentanil-clonidine were assessed over 28 days and stored at 37 °C.


      For the morphine-clonidine mixtures in polypropylene syringes, all mixtures remained stable for five days in both storage conditions (5 ± 3 °C and 25 ± 2 °C) because of relative concentrations systematically positioned between 90% and 110% (95% CIs of the mean of three samples). The two mixtures in implantable pumps remained stable for 28 days.
      For the sufentanil-clonidine mixtures in polypropylene syringes, cold conservation kept all the preparations stable for seven days, whereas a quick degradation was observed after only two days for ambient storage conditions. This result is similar to that with an implantable pump, in which the concentration is <90% on day 7 for low concentration mixtures.
      No visual modification, no significant pH modification, and no changes in turbidity assays were observed in either study.


      This study shows the stability of the morphine-clonidine mixtures in syringes stored at 5 °C for five days and in implantable pumps stored at 37 °C for 28 days. For the sufentanil-clonidine mixtures, the results show stability in syringes for seven days at 5 °C. Pump results show stability of seven days for low concentrations and 28 days for high concentrations.


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