Podcast 790: Opioids vs OTC Pain Meds - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 790: Opioids vs OTC Pain Meds

Contributor: Aaron Lessen, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • NSAIDs are a potential alternative to opioids for pain management and are associated with decreased rates of adverse effects
  • A recent study evaluated the effectiveness of ibuprofen and oxycodone for pain management in pediatric patients with isolated, acute-limb fractures
    • Participants were discharged home with either ibuprofen or oxycodone and followed for six weeks
    •  There was no difference in pain scores between those taking ibuprofen and those taking oxycodone indicating that they had comparable analgesic effects
    • Those in the ibuprofen group experienced significantly less adverse events compared to those taking oxycodone
    • The participants in the ibuprofen group showed quicker return to their normal activities and improved quality of life
  • In pediatric patients with fracture-related pain, ibuprofen is a safer alternative to oxycodone that is equally effective for pain control


Ali S, Manaloor R, Johnson DW, et al. An observational cohort study comparing ibuprofen and oxycodone in children with fractures. PLoS One. 2021;16(9):e0257021.

Cooney MF. Pain Management in Children: NSAID Use in the Perioperative and Emergency Department Settings. Paediatr Drugs. 2021;23(4):361-372.

Yin X, Wang X, He C. Comparative efficacy of therapeutics for traumatic musculoskeletal pain in the emergency setting: A network meta-analysis. Am J Emerg Med. 2021;46:424-429.

Summarized by Mark O’Brien, MS4 | Edited by John Spartz MS4 & Erik Verzemnieks, MD


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