Study Compares Acetaminophen With Codeine to Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen found to be more effective in outpatient pediatric patients with arm fractures

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Ibuprofen appears to be preferable to acetaminophen with codeine in treating children with uncomplicated arm fractures, according to a study published online Aug. 18 in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Amy L. Drendel, D.O., of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and colleagues randomized 336 children to treatment with 10 mg/kg ibuprofen or 1 mg/kg/dose (codeine component) acetaminophen with codeine during the first three days after discharge from the emergency department for an arm fracture. Both groups used a median of four doses, and the researchers analyzed 244 patients.

The researchers found that the proportion of treatment failures was 20.3 percent for ibuprofen and 31 percent for acetaminophen with codeine, though the difference was not statistically significant. The proportion of children who experienced pain that affected functional activities was significantly lower in the ibuprofen group. The proportion of children reporting adverse effects was significantly higher in the acetaminophen with codeine group.

"Ibuprofen consistently outperformed acetaminophen with codeine when the effect of pain on play was assessed. It is unclear whether the analgesic effect has a causal relationship with the reported functional outcomes. However, in this study, functional outcomes for children with pain scores of three or more were significantly different, suggesting that normal function does correlate with lower pain scores," the authors write.

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