Study: OTC ibuprofen as effective as Rx in treating post-operative pain after having tonsils removed

DETROIT — A patient may be able to eat all of the ice cream he wants after having his tonsils removed, but researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit say he doesn't necessarily need a prescription to reduce post-operative pain — an over-the-counter pain reliever is just as effective.

The study released Monday found over-the-counter ibuprofen manages pain after a tonsillectomy for children and adults, as well as the prescription pain medications acetaminophen with hydrocodone and acetaminophen with codeine, which is no longer recommended for use in children.

“Based on this study and the FDA warning about the risks of children taking any medication with codeine, we recommend that children receive over-the-counter ibuprofen after a tonsillectomy,” stated lead study author Robert Standring with the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Henry Ford. “Ibuprofen appears to be the safest alternative that still provides adequate pain control for children.”

Study results were presented Oct. 1 at the 2013 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.



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