Good News on the Opioid War Front | Alhambra Dentist

New Study Shows Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) in Combination are just as Effective as Narcotics.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse stated in March 2018 that “Every day, more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. The misuse of and addiction to opioids – including prescription pain relievers, heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl – is a serious national crisis that affects public health, as well as social and economic welfare.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year…”

There is good news on the war on opioids. It has been common in the U.S. to treat dental pain with a combination of acetaminophen and ibuprofen in lieu of opioids. A new study from an emergency department in New York tracking pain of the extremities further confirmed and extended the advocacy of this non-narcotic practice for the medical use.

This medical study was a randomized, controlled trial that compared the effectiveness of a combination of acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) with combinations of acetaminophen with various dosages of oxycodone or codeine.

416 patients participated in the study. For blinding purposes (so no one knows what he/she is taking), the combinations of medications were delivered in identical capsules. Pain was assessed on a scale of 0 – 10, with 0 representing no pain, and 10 being extreme pain. The reduction in pain score for the acetaminophen-ibuprofen group was 4.3 compared to 4.4, 3.9 and 4.2 in the groups who had taken oxycodone or codeine. The difference was determined to be statistically insignificant.

The authors concluded that, “For patients presenting to the ED [Emergency Department] with acute extremity pain, there were no statistically significant or clinically important differences in pain reduction at 2 hours among single-dose treatment with ibuprofen and acetaminophen or with 3 different opioid and acetaminophen combination analgesics,” and that “further research to assess adverse events and other dosing may be warranted.”

In other words, the non-narcotic group received the same degree of pain reduction as those groups who had received narcotics.

When you have need for pain pills, ask your physician (and your dentist, if appropriate) whether you can control pain with the acetaminophen-ibuprofen combination in lieu of taking opioids.

Do not exceed the recommended daily dosages nor take these non-opioid medications long-term without consultation with your doctor. Never take more than you need to control pain.

If you would like more information about the war on opioids, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.