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Does Multimodal Analgesia with Acetaminophen, Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs, or Selective Cyclooxygenase-2 Inhibitors and Patient-controlled Analgesia Morphine Offer Advantages over Morphine Alone?: Meta-analyses of Randomized Trials

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Abstract

The authors analyzed data from 52 randomized placebo-controlled trials (4,893 adults) testing acetaminophen, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, or selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors given in conjunction with morphine after surgery. The median of the average 24-h morphine consumption in controls was 49 mg (range, 15–117 mg); it was significantly decreased with all regimens by 15–55%. There was evidence of a reduction in pain intensity at 24 h (1 cm on the 0- to 10-cm visual analog scale) only with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs. Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs also significantly reduced the incidence of nausea/vomiting from 28.8% to 22.0% (number needed to treat, 15) and of sedation from 15.4% to 12.7% (number needed to treat, 37) but increased the risk of severe bleeding from 0% to 1.7% (number needed to harm, 59). Selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors increased the risk of renal failure in cardiac patients from 0% to 1.4% (number needed to harm, 73). A decrease in morphine consumption is not a good indicator of the usefulness of a supplemental analgesic. There is evidence that the combination of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs with patient-controlled analgesia morphine offers some advantages over morphine alone.

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