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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2001 Jul;185(1):103-7.

A randomized controlled trial of fentanyl for abortion pain.

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  • 1Everywoman's Health Centre, 2005 E 44th Ave., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V5P 1N1.



Our aim was to find out whether intravenous fentanyl was effective in reducing the pain of first-trimester abortion.


This randomized controlled trial included 825 women attending a nonhospital abortion facility. Some women chose standard care. Women who did not choose standard care were randomly assigned to receive either 50 to 100 microg of fentanyl, a placebo, or no intervention. With SAS software and a mixed effects analysis of variance model with covariates, we compared mean pain scores of the fentanyl and placebo groups to detect a difference of at least 1 point on an 11-point pain scale.


The mean pain score of the fentanyl group was 1.0 point less than that of the placebo group (95% confidence interval, 3.7-4.3) and 0.9 point less than that of the observational group (95% confidence interval, 4.7-5.1). This pain reduction was statistically significant, but the women who were studied wanted a 2-point reduction from fentanyl.


Fentanyl, when compared with the placebo, reduced abortion pain by 1.0 point on an 11-point scale. This reduction was of questionable clinical significance and was less than desired by the women included in the study.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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