Objectives The objective was to test the hypothesis that oxycodone/acetaminophen provides superior analgesia to hydrocodone/acetaminophen for the treatment of acute extremity pain following emergency department (ED) discharge. Methods This was a prospective, randomized, double-blind clinical trial of nonelderly adult ED patients with acute musculoskeletal extremity pain, randomly allocated at discharge to receive oxycodone/acetaminophen (5 mg/325 mg) or hydrocodone/acetaminophen (5 mg/325 mg). The primary outcome was the between-group difference in improvement in numerical rating scale (NRS) pain scores over a 2-hour period following the most recent ingestion of study drug, obtained during telephone contact 24 hours after ED discharge. Secondary outcomes included proportionate decrease in pain, comparative side-effect profiles, and patient satisfaction. Results A total of 240 patients were enrolled. The final sample consisted of 220 patients, 107 randomly allocated to oxycodone/acetaminophen and 113 to hydrocodone/acetaminophen. At 24 hours after ED discharge, the mean NRS pain scores prior to the most recent dose of outpatient pain medication were 7.8 and 7.9 in the oxycodone/acetaminophen and hydrocodone/acetaminophen groups, respectively. The mean decreases in pain scores over 2 hours were 4.4 NRS units in the oxycodone/acetaminophen group versus 4.0 NRS units in the hydrocodone/acetaminophen group, for a difference of 0.4 NRS units (95% confidence interval = -0.2 to 1.1 NRS units). Satisfaction with the analgesics was similar. Conclusions This study design could not detect a clinically or statistically significant difference in analgesic efficacy between oxycodone/acetaminophen (5 mg/325 mg) and hydrocodone/acetaminophen (5 mg/325 mg) for treatment of acute musculoskeletal extremity pain in adults following ED discharge. Both opioids reduced pain scores by approximately 50%.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine