LONDON, Ontario, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- According to a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal this week, children dealing with pain from a bone fracture are better off being treated with ibuprofen than with oral morphine.
Both ibuprofen and morphine can effectively offer pain relief, for kids as well as adults. But the adverse side effects associated with oral morphine make it a less advantageous choice for children, researchers concluded.
"Evidence suggests that orally administered morphine and other opioids are increasingly being prescribed," study author Dr. Naveen Poonai -- a researcher at the London Health Sciences Center and Western University, in Ontario -- said in a recent press release. "However, evidence for the oral administration of morphine in acute pain management is limited. Thus, additional studies are needed to address this gap in knowledge and provide a scientific basis for outpatient analgesic choices in children."
Nearly a quarter of childhood injuries are fractures, which makes choosing the proper form of pain relief a vital endeavor.
To better evaluate the pros and cons of ibuprofen or orally administrated morphine, researchers compared the two pain relief methods among a selection of 134 children, aged 5 to 17 years. Each group was found to benefit equally in terms of pain relief, but adverse incidents such as drowsiness, nausea and vomiting were more prevalent among the 66 children who received morphine.
"Given that morphine was associated with significantly more adverse effects, we conclude that ibuprofen remains a safe and effective therapy for outpatient management of children's fracture pain," the study's authors wrote. "We hope that our results will provide clinicians with a foundation for rational analgesic choices for children with fractures who are discharged from the emergency department."