Ibuprofen Gives Good Pain Relief for Child Broken Arms

Ibuprofen pain relief

A new study in the in Annals of Emergency Medicine. has shown that ibuprofen reduced pain from arm fractures in children as well as Tylenol 3 (a combination of acetaminophen and codeine).

The study was done by Amy L. Drendel, DO, of the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and colleagues. It involved 336 children, ages 4 to 18, with uncomplicated arm fractures from 2003 to 2007. The participants were randomized into two groups: 169 received ibuprofen and 167 received
acetaminophen with codeine for pain relief.

The ibuprofen was given at 10 mg/kg. The acetaminophen-codeine combination at 1 mg/kg. Both were in liquid form and administered by parents every four to six hours as needed. No more than four doses of either were allowed in any 24-hour period.


The use of a “rescue” medication (the alternative drug in the study) was allowed if the child and/or parent considered pain relief inadequate an hour after dosing. Such use was considered a treatment failure.

The children in the ibuprofen group had pain relief on par with the Tylenol 3 group of children. The ibuprofen group also had a lower rate of breakthrough pain (20.9% vs 31%) and fewer adverse effects.

Adverse events from pain medications include nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness. These occurred in 29.5% of the ibuprofen group, compared with 50.9% of those receiving the Tylenol 3.

Drendel A, et al "A randomized clinical trial of ibuprofen versus acetaminophen with codeine for acute pediatric arm fracture pain" Ann Emerg Med 2009; DOI: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2009.06.005.


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