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This study aimed to determine which analgesic modalities used following discharge have the greatest efficacy in reducing postoperative pain after elective non-axial orthopedic surgery. A systematic review was conducted using the databases CENTRAL, MEDLINE, and EMBASE, as well as clinical practice guidelines databases and trial registries. Titles and abstracts were perused by two reviewers for randomized clinical trials in English fulfilling inclusion and exclusion criteria. Quality assessments, including the Oxford Quality Score, selective reporting, and sources of funding, were also performed. Pain intensity/relief, global patient evaluation, and use of rescue analgesia, as well as adverse events and withdrawals. 2,167 articles were retrieved and 23 articles were eligible for inclusion. They investigated analgesic modalities including alternative therapies (5); cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors (3); nonselective, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (12); opioids (2); and other pharmaceutical classes (1). Cycooxygenase-2 inhibitors and opioids demonstrated significant efficacy with minimal side effects. Most nonselective NSAIDs were effective analgesics but had a poorer side-effect profile. Alternative therapies demonstrated no significant efficacy. Opioids and cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors are effective in providing analgesia in the extended postoperative period following orthopedic surgery with a minimal side-effect profile, while nonselective NSAIDs need to be treated with caution. Homeopathy is not an effective analgesic, while acupuncture has varied evidence and effectiveness. Treatment of postoperative fatigue may also improve analgesia control. This study provides orthopedic surgeons with a basis for evidence-based prescribing of postdischarge analgesia. However, further studies to validate these results against modern reporting standards are needed. Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Matthew Roberts, Wendy Brodribb, Geoffrey Mitchell. Reducing the pain: a systematic review of postdischarge analgesia following elective orthopedic surgery. Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.). 2012 May;13(5):711-27

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PMID: 22494470

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