Ibuprofen instead of morphine to reduce side effects on children

ibuprofen effects

It is already heartbreaking to see your child suffer from the pain of a broken bone, you want the best medication to make sure the “boo boo” pain goes away, but you also want your child to be safe from any medication side effects. A recent study suggests that ibuprofen is a better choice for pain relief than morphine on children with bone fractures.

Dr. Naveen Poonai head of the study from the Center for Health Sciences in London, Ontario and his group of experts found that although both drugs are effective in relieving the pain associated with these lesions, oral morphine carries a higher risk of negative side effects.

The research, published October 27th in an issue of CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), was done in 134 children that range the ages of 5 to 17 years old, who had bone fractures but did not undergo surgery. The children were selected by to get morphine or ibuprofen for their pain discomfort. Both drugs relieved the pain, but the children taking morphine experienced more adverse effects such as nausea, vomiting and drowsiness.

They concluded that ibuprofen is safer and more effective for outpatient pain management in these special conditions in children; on the other hand morphine was linked with a larger number of negative side effects.

Dr. Poonai said they hope their findings give a basis for clinical professionals and broadens a rational analgesic option for children with a broken bone discharged from the emergency room.

According to these Canadian researchers, the evidence says that morphine and other narcotic analgesics that are administered orally are prescribed in an alarming increased rate for such young patients. There is also little evidence that shows success of oral morphine in acute pain management. In addition, further studies are needed to address this knowledge gap and provide a scientific basis for analgesic options in outpatient children.

A quarter of injuries found in children are indeed broken bones. The scientists who participated in this study also found that the first two days of this type of injury are the most painful. But children have limited pain relief, due to safety concerns about the use of codeine options.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has more information about safe doses of ibuprofen for children.

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