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Pain Research and Treatment
Volume 2013, Article ID 402510, 6 pages
Review Article

Intravenous Paracetamol Reduces Postoperative Opioid Consumption after Orthopedic Surgery: A Systematic Review of Clinical Trials

Department of Anaesthesiology & Intensive Care, AIIMS, F 35/2 Gautam Nagar, New Delhi 49, India

Received 4 May 2013; Revised 22 August 2013; Accepted 6 September 2013

Academic Editor: Steve McGaraughty

Copyright © 2013 Bright Jebaraj et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Postoperative pain management is one of the most challenging jobs in orthopedic surgical population as it comprises of patients from extremes of ages and with multiple comorbidities. Though effective, opioids may contribute to serious adverse effects particularly in old age patients. Intravenous paracetamol is widely used in the postoperative period with the hope that it may reduce opioid consumption and produce better pain relief. A brief review of human clinical trials where intravenous paracetamol was compared with placebo or no treatment in postoperative period in orthopedic surgical population has been done here. We found that four clinical trials reported that there is a significant reduction in postoperative opioid consumption. When patients received an IV injection of 2 g propacetamol, reduction of morphine consumption up to 46% has been reported. However, one study did not find any reduction of opioid requirement after spinal surgery in children and adolescent. Four clinical trials reported better pain scores when paracetamol has been used, but other three trials denied. We conclude that postoperative intravenous paracetamol is a safe and effective adjunct to opioid after orthopedic surgery, but at present there is no data to decide whether paracetamol reduces opioid related adverse effects or not.