Abstract: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for postoperative pain: a focus on children.
Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
Paediatr Drugs. 2003;5(2):103-23.
Pain is a common symptom after surgery in children, and the need for effective pain management is obvious. For example, after myringotomy, despite the brief nature of the procedure, at least one-half of children have significant pain.
After more extended surgery, such as tonsillectomy, almost all children have considerable pain longer than 7 days. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are useful for postoperative pain management because surgery causes
both pain and inflammation. Several pediatric studies indicate NSAIDs are effective analgesics in the management of mild and moderate pain. In the treatment of severe pain, NSAIDs should be given with acetaminophen (paracetamol) or opioids, and the use of an appropriate regional analgesic technique should be considered. NSAIDs are more effective in preventing pain than in the relief of established pain. Pain following surgery is best managed by providing medication on a regular basis, preventing the pain from recurring. This proactive approach should be implemented for any procedure where postoperative pain is the likely outcome. In children, the choice of formulation can be more important than the choice of drug. Intravenous administration is preferred for children with an intravenous line in place; thereafter mixtures and small tablets are feasible options. Children dislike suppositories, and intramuscular administration should not be used in nonsedated children. Ibuprofen, diclofenac, ketoprofen and ketorolac are the most extensively evaluated NSAIDs in children. Only a few trials have compared different NSAIDs, but no major differences in the analgesic action are expected when appropriate doses of each drug are used. Whether NSAIDs differ in the incidence and severity of adverse effects is open to discussion. Because NSAIDs prevent platelet aggregation they may increase bleeding. A few studies indicate that ketorolac may increase bleeding more so than other NSAIDs, but the evidence is conflicting. Severe adverse effects of NSAIDs in children are very rare, but it is important to know about adverse effects in order to recognize and treat them when they do occur. NSAIDs are contraindicated in patients in whom sensitivity reactions are precipitated by aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) or other NSAIDs. They should be used with caution in children with liver dysfunction, impaired renal function, hypovolemia or hypotension, coagulation disorders, thrombocytopenia, or active bleeding from any cause. In contrast, it seems that most children with mild asthma may use NSAIDs.
Anaesthesia Paediatric Analgesia Pain NSAID