NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. – Intravenous (IV) acetaminophen does little to improve patient satisfaction and decrease pain after laparoscopic hysterectomy, according to results from a prospective, randomized trial.
Noah Rindos, MDand his colleagues investigated the effectiveness of preoperative IV acetaminophen, encouraged by previous studies demonstrating its effectiveness in preoperative pain. of the University of Pittsburgh and his team researched acetaminophen as an alternative to opioid pain management.
“The theory is if you give something to block the pain, then you’ll have less of it after surgery. And then you won’t need as many narcotics,” Dr. Rindos said at the AAGL Global Congress.
Prior to surgery, 91 patients were administered 1,000 mg of IV acetaminophen and 92 received IV saline. Follow-up doses were administered 6 hours later. Induction of anesthesia and other postoperative pain management was uniform between the two cohorts. Patients also were asked to report their pain and nausea levels. Three patients withdrew from the study, two from postoperative pain and one for evaluation of stroke.
Using the visual analog scale, patients were asked to report their postoperative pain and nausea levels at 2, 4, 6, 12, and 24 hours. Patients also reported their satisfaction scores 24 hours post surgery.
Generalized abdominal pain visual analog scores between the IV saline and IV acetaminophen groups showed no significant differences at 2 hours (3.6 vs 4.4), 4 hours (3.5 vs. 3.9), 6 hours (3.6 vs. 3.8), 12 hours (3.3 vs. 3.7), and 24 hours (3.3 vs. 3.6). Similar results were observed for upper abdomen, lower abdomen and umbilical pain, and nausea. There was no statistically significant difference between saline and acetaminophen postoperative satisfaction scores (P = .319).
The results of this study are particularly relevant because of the relatively high cost of acetaminophen ($23.20 per dose in this study). The price, combined with the lack of effectiveness and the availability of alternatives, make the routine use of acetaminophen unnecessary during hysterectomy, Dr. Rindos said.“This has actually led to a practice change within our institution where we are no longer giving IV Tylenol preoperatively,” Dr. Rindos said. “If we have a large expense ... and we are not getting much benefit to the patient or to their overall satisfaction, maybe we should reevaluate the utility of it.”
The study was supported by the Magee-Womens Hospital Medical Staff Fund. Dr. Rindos reported having no relevant financial disclosures.