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Pediatr Clin North Am. 2000 Jun;47(3):527-43.

Weak analgesics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents in the management of children with acute pain.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Missouri, Columbia, USA.


The PSIs include acetaminophen, NSAIDs, and salicylates. They can be used alone for the treatment of mild pain or as an adjunct to opioid analgesia. In children, most experience is with acetaminophen and ibuprofen. For the treatment of mild to moderate pain, these agents can be administered as needed or at fixed intervals. The latter dosing scheme may provide a more consistent serum level, thereby improving analgesia. The major advantages of acetaminophen are its availability as a suppository for PR administration and its lack of effects on renal and GI function, adverse effects that may be seen with the NSAIDs. Many of the effects on platelet functioning, RBF, and the GI tract may be eliminated with the introduction of NSAIDs that selectively inhibit COX II without effects on COX I, the enzyme present in the GI tract, renal system, and platelets. Future evaluations with these agents in the pediatric population are needed. For more severe pain, the NSAID salicylate or acetaminophen can be combined with a weak opioid, such as codeine, oxycodone, or hydrocodone. When using oral analgesics, factors that may interfere with effective analgesia include a child's refusal to take the medication, ineffective doses and dosing regimens, decreased bioavailability following PO administration, inability to tolerate PO medications because of nausea or vomiting, altered GI motility, and a delayed onset caused by slow absorption. With such caveats in mind, the PO route provides an effective and cost-effective means for many patients. It should be considered as the primary route for pediatric patients in the treatment of mild to moderate pain, even in the hospital setting.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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