The effect of preoperative oral administration of prednisolone on postoperative pain in patients with symptomatic irreversible pulpitis: a single-centre randomized controlled trial

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This single-centre randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial assessed the effect of a preoperative, single, oral dose of prednisolone on postoperative pain and postoperative analgesic intake in patients with symptomatic, irreversible pulpitis in mandibular molars.


Four hundred participants, randomly assigned to two equal groups, received either 40 mg prednisolone or placebo tablets 30 min before single-visit root canal treatment. Patients recorded their pain level 6, 12 and 24 h after treatment on a 100-mm visual analogue scale. All patients received a sham capsule to take if needed as a postoperative analgesic, and, if the pain persisted, an analgesic was prescribed. The relative risk reduction and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated for binary data. Mann–Whitney U-test was used to compare postoperative pain intensity between groups.


The relative risk reduction in pain incidence was 20.31% (95% CI: 12.03%, 27.82%) at 6 h, 23.39% (95% CI: 14.75%, 31.16%) at 12 h and 28.85% (95% CI: 18.08%, 38.20%) at 24 h. Prednisolone had significantly less post-obturation pain intensity compared to placebo at 6, 12 and 24 h (P < 0.001). The relative risk reduction in sham-capsule intake was 54% (95% CI: 38%, 66%) and of analgesic intake was 55% (95% CI: 3%, 79%). No adverse effects were recorded.


Preoperative oral administration of a single dose of 40 mg prednisolone was beneficial to control short-term post-obturation pain after single-visit root canal treatment in patients with symptomatic irreversible pulpitis reducing pain incidence after 24 h by approximately 30% and postoperative analgesic intake by approximately 55%.

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