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Perioperative Acetaminophen Ups Pain Outcomes After Shoulder Surgery

Findings show decreased opioid consumption, better overall pain control following primary rotator cuff repair

a man holding his shoulder in pain
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TUESDAY, Sept. 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Perioperative acetaminophen significantly decreases opioid consumption and results in improved overall pain control following primary rotator cuff repair, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, held from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3 in San Diego.

Arjun Singh, from the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia, and colleagues randomly assigned 57 patients undergoing rotator cuff repair to oxycodone 5 mg every six hours as needed and acetaminophen 1,000 mg every six hours as needed following surgery (group 1), oxycodone 5 mg every six hours as needed without any additional acetaminophen following surgery (group 2), or 1,000 mg of acetaminophen every six hours for one day prior to and following surgery (group 3).

The researchers found that patients in group 3 took significantly fewer 5 mg oxycodone pills overall and took significantly fewer narcotic pills each day on average versus group 2. Group 3 reported significantly better overall pain control versus the other groups. Satisfaction was similar between the groups, as was postoperative medication-associated side effects.

"Acetaminophen appears to be an important component of multimodal analgesia in appropriately selected patients undergoing shoulder surgery," the authors write. "Further study in a larger cohort of patients is needed to fully evaluate the efficacy of acetaminophen in this role."

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