Ibuprofen better than morphine for kids after minor surgery

By Amy Wallace  |  Oct. 10, 2017 at 9:49 AM
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Oct. 10 (UPI) -- A recent study found ibuprofen is a better option than oral morphine for pain relief in children who have had minor orthopedic surgery.

The study, published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found the two drugs had similar efficacy for pain but ibuprofen had fewer adverse effects than morphine.

Researchers conducted a clinical trial with 154 children age 5 to 17 who underwent minor outpatient orthopedic surgery, including keyhole surgery on ligaments, joints and tendon repair, suture or hardware removal, at London Health Sciences Center in Ontario, Canada.

More than 80 percent of the children in the study required pain relief in the first 24 hours after discharge, and researchers found that pain scores were similar for children taking ibuprofen and oral morphine. However, the children taking the oral morphine had more adverse side effects, such as drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and constipation.

"This result suggests that adequate pain management should be an important goal of care, even after minor outpatient surgery, and that more effective pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic strategies should be explored," Dr. Naveen Poonai, a clinician scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute and an associate professor of emergency medicine at Western University, wrote in the study.

While a benefit of ibuprofen over morphine was found in the study, the researchers say that neither treatment completely relieved pain and research is needed for more effective methods of pain relief.

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