COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Comparison of rofecoxib and oxycodone plus acetaminophen in the treatment of acute pain: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in patients with moderate to severe postoperative pain in the third molar extraction model

Scott Korn, Theodore C Vassil, Paul N-A Kotey, James R Fricke
Clinical Therapeutics 2004, 26 (5): 769-78
15220020

BACKGROUND: Opiates, acetaminophen, nonselective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and cyclooxygenase-2-selective inhibitors such as rofecoxib are used in the treatment of acute pain because of their anti-inflammatory and/or analgesic properties. Rofecoxib has demonstrated an improved gastrointestinal safety profile compared with nonselective NSAIDs.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to compare the analgesic efficacy and tolerability profile of rofecoxib 50 mg with those of the centrally acting, nonsalicylate, opiate/nonopiate analgesic combination oxycodone/acetominophen 5/325 in patients with pain after dental surgery.

METHODS: In this randomized, double-blind, placebo- and active comparator-controlled study, patients experiencing moderate to severe postoperative pain after extraction of > or =2 third molars (including > or =1 mandibular impaction) received a single oral dose of rofecoxib 50 mg, oxycodone/acetaminophen 5/325 mg, or placebo. End points included total pain relief over 6 hours (TOPAR6, the primary end point) and 4 hours (TOPAR4), patient's global assessment of treatment at 6 hours (GLOBAL6) and 24 hours (GLOBAL24), summed pain intensity difference over 6 hours (SPID6), onset of analgesic effect (time to perceptible/meaningful pain relief, using a 2-stopwatch method), peak pain relief (PEAKPR), peak pain intensity difference (PEAKPID), and duration of analgesic effect (time to use of rescue analgesia).

RESULTS: Two hundred twelve patients (63% female, 37% male; 76% white, 24% other; mean [SD] age, 20.9 [4.4] years; age range, 16-41 years) were enrolled in the study and received a single oral dose of rofecoxib 50 mg (n = 90), oxycodone/acetaminophen 5/325 mg (n = 91), or placebo (n = 31). The analgesic effect of rofecoxib was significantly greater than that of oxycodone/acetaminophen at P < 0.001 for TOPAR6, TOPAR4, GLOBAL6, GLOBAL24, and SPID6; at P < 0.010 for PEAKPR and PEAKPID; and at P < 0.001 for median time to use of rescue analgesia. Significantly fewer patients in the rofecoxib group (72.2%) took rescue analgesia within 24 hours postdose compared with the oxycodone/acetaminophen group (94.5%; P < 0.001) and the placebo group (96.8%; P < 0.02). Both active treatments were similar with respect to onset of analgesic effect. Both were generally well tolerated; the overall incidence of adverse experiences in the rofecoxib, oxycodone/acetaminophen, and placebo groups was 51.1%, 64.8%, and 48.4%, respectively. Rofecoxib was associated with a significantly lower incidence of nausea (18.9% vs 39.6%; P < 0.001) and vomiting (6.7% vs 23.1%; P < 0.001) compared with oxycodone/acetaminophen.

CONCLUSIONS: In study patients with moderate to severe pain after dental surgery, rofecoxib 50 mg had a greater analgesic effect than oxycodone/acetaminophen 5/325 mg and was associated with less nausea and vomiting.

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