Drugs Can Reduce Discomfort During Mammography

May improve likelihood of regular screening

TUESDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- Premedication with lidocaine can help reduce discomfort in women who expect pain during mammography screening and make it more likely they will continue to undergo regular screening, according to a report released online July 22 in advance of publication in the September issue of Radiology.

Colleen J. Lambertz, from the St. Luke's Mountain States Tumor Institute in Boise, Idaho, and colleagues randomly assigned 418 women who expected substantial discomfort during screening mammography to receive premedication with placebo or acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and/or a 4 percent lidocaine gel.

The researchers found that self-reported discomfort was significantly lower in the lidocaine group. There was a significant negative association between self-reported satisfaction and discomfort, they add. Satisfaction and mammography delay due to fear of discomfort had significant effects on plans to undergo mammography the following year, the authors note. Technologist and machine combinations also influenced discomfort levels.

"Premedication with 4 percent lidocaine gel significantly reduced discomfort during screening mammography, and reduced discomfort may improve the likelihood of future mammographic screening and early detection of breast cancer," Lambertz and colleagues conclude.

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