Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen offer better pain management and fewer side effects than Codeine following surgery, that’s according to research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Researchers said they found people who took NSAIDs had lower pain levels at 6 and 12 hours after surgery compared with their counterpart who took Codeine.
“In all surgery types subgroup and outcome time point, NSAIDs were equal or superior to Codeine for postoperative pains and we found that patients randomized to NSAIDs following the outpatient surgical procedure reported better pain scores, better global assessment score, fewer adverse effects and no difference in bleeding events compared with those receiving Codeine”, said the study author Dr. Sean Mackey, Chief of the Division of Stanford Pain and Medicine at Stanford University
What the study revealed
The researchers reviewed 40 randomized control trials (RCTs) of more than 5100 adults to compare the safety of medication containing codeine and NSAIDs as well as their efficacy in reducing pains.
“We found high-quality evidence that outpatient postoperative adults taking NSAIDs reported less pain at 6 to 12 hours than those taking codeine in a meta-analysis of RCTs.” Dr. Sean Mackey said the results of the study aren’t surprising but it’s nice to see some data coming out corroborating he added.
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“Postoperative pain is nothing more than a controlled injury and part of the injury is inducing an inflammatory response, NSAIDs are anti-inflammatory. They’re going to be good analgesic, I can readily see where NSAIDs can be an effective analgesic for many types of surgeries”.
How pains medication works
Codeine belongs to a group of medication called Opioid, opioid works by altering how the nervous system and brain respond to pain.“It’s a weak opioid, we don’t use it much for Postoperative pain,” Mackey explained.
NSAIDs works by blocking enzymes in the body that make prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are chemicals in the body that can play a role in inflammation and pain, reducing the prostaglandins created in the body can help reduce inflammation and pain.
“What we frequently do in pain management is that we will combine these types of medication so we will use a little bit of an NSAIDs and a little bit of an Opioid”, Mackey said.
Comparing the side effects both NSAIDs and Opioid have potential side effects.
The benefit of codeine is that it’s a pain relief though a rather weak pain relief. The downside of it is that it is an Opioid and it has all the potential side effects of an Opioid such as causing constipation, itching, nausea and vomiting and it can also cause a decrease in breathing which is not needed at all for postoperative patients and they could potentially result in abuse in the future or addition.
NSAIDs also carry risk but they are typically safe and the obvious upside is there is zero abuse to additional potential. So NSAIDs offers better pain management and fewer side effects postoperatively than codeine.
By: Peace Chigozie