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Paracetamol pain relief for kids with broken bones

Media release

Paracetamol as effective as ibuprofen for pain relief in kids with broken bones

Paracetamol is as effective as ibuprofen for relief of pain in children who have an acute bone fracture.

These are the findings of a prospective randomised controlled study of over 70 children aged 5-14 years conducted at the Children’s Emergency Department of the Starship Hospital in Auckland.

The study is published in the latest issue of Emergency Medicine Australasia, the journal of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine.

“Most children with an acute fracture can be managed by regular simple oral analgesia and standard immobilisation techniques,” said Dr Michael Shepherd.

Dr Shepherd and Dr Richard Aickin conducted the study over two time periods: October 2004 to April 2005 and March 2007 to August 2007.

“Paediatric limb fracture is a common injury that presents frequently to the ED.”

The researchers said the chance of sustaining a limb fracture during childhood is 18–30%.

The most common fracture site is the radius and ulna, and the most common age of fracture is 14 years for boys and 11 years for girls.

They said there is little published information on pain experiences of children following acute fractures in an outpatient setting.

Parents report that children experience significant pain after discharge with an acute limb fracture.

This is the first study to include child-reported pain experience following acute limb fracture.

The average pain score over the 48 hour period after the fracture when children took regular paracetamol or ibuprofen was less than 3 out of 10.

No differences in pain levels were identified between the group who took paracetamol and the group who took ibuprofen.


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