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Can postoperative pains following tonsillectomy be relieved by honey? A prospective, randomized, placebo controlled preliminary study.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness of acetaminophen versus acetaminophen-plus-honey following pediatric tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.

DESIGN: Prospective, randomized, and placebo controlled clinical trial.

SETTING: Tertiary care facility in Ankara, Turkey.

PATIENTS: Sixty consecutive tonsillectomy patients randomized to two groups.

INTERVENTIONS: The acetaminophen group was treated with antibiotics (amoxicillin-clavulonic acid), acetaminophen and placebo, acetaminophen-plus-honey group was treated with antibiotics (amoxicillin-clavulonic acid), acetaminophen, and honey. Visual analogue scale (VAS) was applied for subjective assessment of postoperative pains, while the number of painkillers taken daily and awakening at night due to pain were used for objective assessment. The amount of epithelization was used for assessment of tonsillary fossa recovery.

OUTCOME MEASURES: The difference between acetaminophen and acetaminophen-plus-honey groups was statistically significant both in terms of VAS and number of painkillers taken within the first 2 postoperative days (p<0.001). Although there was no statistically significant difference between groups regarding the VAS scores on the 3rd postoperative day and after, the number of painkillers taken differed significantly until the 8th postoperative day (p<0.001 for first 7 postoperative days; p=0.003 for 8th day). No significant difference was found between groups regarding the number of awakening at night (p=0.36). Tonsillary fossa epithelization was more rapid in the acetaminophen-plus-honey group (p<0.001).

CONCLUSION: Oral administration of honey following pediatric tonsillectomy may relieve postoperative pain and may decrease the need for analgesics. Prospective, randomized, and double-blind studies should further be conducted in order to confirm the data obtained in this study and develop a standard protocol to achieve maximum clinical efficiency.

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