Reducing Post Procedural Pain and Opioid Consumption Using IV Acetaminophen and IV Ibuprofen Following Uterine Fibroid Embolization: A Prospective, Doubleblind, Randomized Controlled Study

Purpose: Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is associated with post-procedural pain and nausea. In this double-blind randomized controlled study, we compared pre-procedure intravenous (IV) acetaminophen/ibuprofen to postprocedure IV ketorolac in UFE patients.

Methods: After institutional review board approval, UFE candidates 21-60 years old were screened and randomly assigned to one of four arms: acetaminophen (1 g), ibuprofen (800 mg), acetaminophen (1 g) and ibuprofen (800 mg) combined, and an active comparator, ketorolac (30 mg). All received rescue patient-controlled hydromorphone for 24 h post-procedure. Primary outcome was measurement of pain intensity (visual analog scale: VAS) between the acetaminophen/ibuprofen group and the ketorolac group. The secondary outcomes were opioid and anti-emetic requirements and nausea intensity (VAS).

Results: 40 subjects were analysed: acetaminophen/ ibuprofen (N=16); acetaminophen (N=4); ibuprofen (N=4); ketorolac (N=16). The maximum and mean VAS scores for pain were not different between the acetaminophen/ ibuprofen group and the ketorolac group without adjusting for opioid consumption (p=0.243 and p=0.208, respectively). Total opioid consumption in morphine equivalents (mean [±SE]) was 28.09 mg (±4.58) in the acetaminophen/ibuprofen group and 40.33 mg (±7.79) in the ketorolac group (p=0.087), demonstrating a trend favouring the acetaminophen/ibuprofen group. The mean and maximum nausea scores showed a trend and significant difference (p=0.095 and p=0.003), respectively, favouring the ketorolac group.

Conclusion: IV acetaminophen/ibuprofen demonstrated comparable pain control, although there was less opioid requirement for the acetaminophen/ibuprofen group compared to the ketorolac group. Maximum nausea scores were significantly increased with similar ondansetron requirements. Therefore, antiemetic prophylaxis is needed regardless of group.


Cheryl H Hoffman, Jonathan S Jahr, Grace J Kim, Carlyn Yarosh, Saima Chaabane, Tiffany Ching and Wonuk Koh

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  • Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research