Randomized Controlled Trial of Intravenous Acetaminophen Versus Intravenous Hydromorphone for the Treatment of Acute Pain in the Emergency Department

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Abstract

Study objective: As clinicians look to nonnarcotic analgesics in the emergency department (ED), it is essential to understand the effectiveness and adverse effects of nonopioid medications in comparison with existing opioid treatments. Studies of intravenous acetaminophen for acute pain in the ED demonstrate mixed results and suffer from small sample sizes and methodological limitations. This study compares intravenous hydromorphone with intravenous acetaminophen in adult ED patients presenting with acute pain. Methods: This was a prospective, randomized, clinical trial comparing 1 g intravenous acetaminophen with 1 mg intravenous hydromorphone for treatment of adults with severe, acute pain in the ED. The primary outcome was between-group difference in change in numeric rating scale from baseline to 60 minutes postadministration of study medication. Secondary outcomes included the difference in proportion of patients in each group who declined additional analgesia at 60 minutes, received additional medication before 60 minutes, and developed nausea, vomiting, or pruritus. Results: Of 220 subjects randomized, 103 patients in each arm had sufficient data for analysis. At 60 minutes, the mean decrease in numeric rating scale pain score was 5.3 in the hydromorphone arm and 3.3 in the acetaminophen arm, a difference of 2.0 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2 to 2.7) favoring hydromorphone. A greater proportion of patients in the hydromorphone arm also declined additional analgesia at 60 minutes (65% versus 44%; difference 21%; (95% CI 8% to 35%). There was no difference in the proportion of patients receiving rescue analgesia before 60 minutes. Significantly more subjects in the hydromorphone group developed nausea (19% versus 3%; difference 16%; 95% CI 4% to 28%) and vomiting (14% versus 3%; difference 11%; 95% CI 0% to 23%). Conclusion: Although both 1 mg intravenous hydromorphone and 1 g intravenous acetaminophen provided clinically meaningful reductions in pain scores, treatment with hydromorphone provided both clinically and statistically greater analgesia than acetaminophen, at the cost of a higher incidence of nausea and vomiting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of Emergency Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

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Hydromorphone
Acute Pain
Acetaminophen
Hospital Emergency Service
Randomized Controlled Trials
Analgesia
Confidence Intervals
Nausea
Vomiting
Therapeutics
Non-Narcotic Analgesics
Pain
Pruritus
Sample Size
Opioid Analgesics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

Cite this

@article{70c3bb83ed504e17b321e3a3071216bf,
title = "Randomized Controlled Trial of Intravenous Acetaminophen Versus Intravenous Hydromorphone for the Treatment of Acute Pain in the Emergency Department",
abstract = "Study objective: As clinicians look to nonnarcotic analgesics in the emergency department (ED), it is essential to understand the effectiveness and adverse effects of nonopioid medications in comparison with existing opioid treatments. Studies of intravenous acetaminophen for acute pain in the ED demonstrate mixed results and suffer from small sample sizes and methodological limitations. This study compares intravenous hydromorphone with intravenous acetaminophen in adult ED patients presenting with acute pain. Methods: This was a prospective, randomized, clinical trial comparing 1 g intravenous acetaminophen with 1 mg intravenous hydromorphone for treatment of adults with severe, acute pain in the ED. The primary outcome was between-group difference in change in numeric rating scale from baseline to 60 minutes postadministration of study medication. Secondary outcomes included the difference in proportion of patients in each group who declined additional analgesia at 60 minutes, received additional medication before 60 minutes, and developed nausea, vomiting, or pruritus. Results: Of 220 subjects randomized, 103 patients in each arm had sufficient data for analysis. At 60 minutes, the mean decrease in numeric rating scale pain score was 5.3 in the hydromorphone arm and 3.3 in the acetaminophen arm, a difference of 2.0 (95{\%} confidence interval [CI] 1.2 to 2.7) favoring hydromorphone. A greater proportion of patients in the hydromorphone arm also declined additional analgesia at 60 minutes (65{\%} versus 44{\%}; difference 21{\%}; (95{\%} CI 8{\%} to 35{\%}). There was no difference in the proportion of patients receiving rescue analgesia before 60 minutes. Significantly more subjects in the hydromorphone group developed nausea (19{\%} versus 3{\%}; difference 16{\%}; 95{\%} CI 4{\%} to 28{\%}) and vomiting (14{\%} versus 3{\%}; difference 11{\%}; 95{\%} CI 0{\%} to 23{\%}). Conclusion: Although both 1 mg intravenous hydromorphone and 1 g intravenous acetaminophen provided clinically meaningful reductions in pain scores, treatment with hydromorphone provided both clinically and statistically greater analgesia than acetaminophen, at the cost of a higher incidence of nausea and vomiting.",
author = "Barnaby, {Douglas P.} and Chertoff, {Andrew E.} and Restivo, {Andrew J.} and Campbell, {Caron M.} and Pearlman, {Scott B.} and Deborah White and Bijur, {Polly E.} and Gallagher, {E. John}",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.annemergmed.2018.06.019",
language = "English (US)",
journal = "Annals of Emergency Medicine",
issn = "0196-0644",
publisher = "Mosby Inc.",

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T1 - Randomized Controlled Trial of Intravenous Acetaminophen Versus Intravenous Hydromorphone for the Treatment of Acute Pain in the Emergency Department

AU - Barnaby, Douglas P.

AU - Chertoff, Andrew E.

AU - Restivo, Andrew J.

AU - Campbell, Caron M.

AU - Pearlman, Scott B.

AU - White, Deborah

AU - Bijur, Polly E.

AU - Gallagher, E. John

PY - 2018/1/1

Y1 - 2018/1/1

N2 - Study objective: As clinicians look to nonnarcotic analgesics in the emergency department (ED), it is essential to understand the effectiveness and adverse effects of nonopioid medications in comparison with existing opioid treatments. Studies of intravenous acetaminophen for acute pain in the ED demonstrate mixed results and suffer from small sample sizes and methodological limitations. This study compares intravenous hydromorphone with intravenous acetaminophen in adult ED patients presenting with acute pain. Methods: This was a prospective, randomized, clinical trial comparing 1 g intravenous acetaminophen with 1 mg intravenous hydromorphone for treatment of adults with severe, acute pain in the ED. The primary outcome was between-group difference in change in numeric rating scale from baseline to 60 minutes postadministration of study medication. Secondary outcomes included the difference in proportion of patients in each group who declined additional analgesia at 60 minutes, received additional medication before 60 minutes, and developed nausea, vomiting, or pruritus. Results: Of 220 subjects randomized, 103 patients in each arm had sufficient data for analysis. At 60 minutes, the mean decrease in numeric rating scale pain score was 5.3 in the hydromorphone arm and 3.3 in the acetaminophen arm, a difference of 2.0 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2 to 2.7) favoring hydromorphone. A greater proportion of patients in the hydromorphone arm also declined additional analgesia at 60 minutes (65% versus 44%; difference 21%; (95% CI 8% to 35%). There was no difference in the proportion of patients receiving rescue analgesia before 60 minutes. Significantly more subjects in the hydromorphone group developed nausea (19% versus 3%; difference 16%; 95% CI 4% to 28%) and vomiting (14% versus 3%; difference 11%; 95% CI 0% to 23%). Conclusion: Although both 1 mg intravenous hydromorphone and 1 g intravenous acetaminophen provided clinically meaningful reductions in pain scores, treatment with hydromorphone provided both clinically and statistically greater analgesia than acetaminophen, at the cost of a higher incidence of nausea and vomiting.

AB - Study objective: As clinicians look to nonnarcotic analgesics in the emergency department (ED), it is essential to understand the effectiveness and adverse effects of nonopioid medications in comparison with existing opioid treatments. Studies of intravenous acetaminophen for acute pain in the ED demonstrate mixed results and suffer from small sample sizes and methodological limitations. This study compares intravenous hydromorphone with intravenous acetaminophen in adult ED patients presenting with acute pain. Methods: This was a prospective, randomized, clinical trial comparing 1 g intravenous acetaminophen with 1 mg intravenous hydromorphone for treatment of adults with severe, acute pain in the ED. The primary outcome was between-group difference in change in numeric rating scale from baseline to 60 minutes postadministration of study medication. Secondary outcomes included the difference in proportion of patients in each group who declined additional analgesia at 60 minutes, received additional medication before 60 minutes, and developed nausea, vomiting, or pruritus. Results: Of 220 subjects randomized, 103 patients in each arm had sufficient data for analysis. At 60 minutes, the mean decrease in numeric rating scale pain score was 5.3 in the hydromorphone arm and 3.3 in the acetaminophen arm, a difference of 2.0 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2 to 2.7) favoring hydromorphone. A greater proportion of patients in the hydromorphone arm also declined additional analgesia at 60 minutes (65% versus 44%; difference 21%; (95% CI 8% to 35%). There was no difference in the proportion of patients receiving rescue analgesia before 60 minutes. Significantly more subjects in the hydromorphone group developed nausea (19% versus 3%; difference 16%; 95% CI 4% to 28%) and vomiting (14% versus 3%; difference 11%; 95% CI 0% to 23%). Conclusion: Although both 1 mg intravenous hydromorphone and 1 g intravenous acetaminophen provided clinically meaningful reductions in pain scores, treatment with hydromorphone provided both clinically and statistically greater analgesia than acetaminophen, at the cost of a higher incidence of nausea and vomiting.

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