Analgesia After Bilateral Myringotomy and Placement of Pressure Equalization Tubes in Children: Acetaminophen Versus Acetaminophen with Codeine

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Despite the brief nature of the procedure with limited tissue trauma, some form of analgesia is required in most children after bilateral myringotomy and placement of pressure equalization (PE) tubes.Previous studies have demonstrated the relative inefficacy of acetaminophen and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), with 30%-55% of patients requiring supplemental postoperative analgesia. We undertook a prospective study evaluating the efficacy of the preoperative administration of oral acetaminophen (15 mg/kg) versus acetaminophen (10 mg/kg) and codeine (1 mg/kg). Fifty ASA grade I or II patients were randomized to receive oral midazolam premedication (0.7 mg/kg) mixed in either acetaminophen or acetaminophen with codeine elixir. Anesthesia was induced and maintained with halothane in nitrous oxide and oxygen. Postoperative pain was assessed at four times during the postoperative course using an objective pain scale. The two groups were similar with respect to age, weight, gender, duration of anesthesia, and duration of the surgical procedure. The patients who received acetaminophen with codeine had lower pain scores at all four points when compared with patients who received acetaminophen. None of the 25 patients who received acetaminophen with codeine required supplemental analgesics compared with 12 of 25 who received acetaminophen. No adverse effects were noted in either group. We conclude that the preoperative administration of acetaminophen with codeine provides superior analgesia after bilateral myringotomy and placement of PE tubes.(Anesth Analg 1995;81:496-500)

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