Common pain relievers beat opioids for dental pain relief

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dental pain relief

Opioids are not among the most effective—or longest lasting—options available for relief from acute dental pain, a new examination of the results from more than 460 published studies has found.

Ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) alone or in combination with acetaminophen are better at easing dental pain, according to the research conducted with the School of Dental Medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

The study examining relief of acute pain in dentistry—and published recently in The Journal of the American Dental Association—evaluated the safety and efficacy of dozens of pain-relief options.

“What we know is that prescribing narcotics should be a last resort,” study author Anita Aminoshariae said, bearing in mind that each day, more than 115 Americans die as a result of an opioid overdose according to the National Institutes of Health.

“No patient should go home in pain. That means that opioids are sometimes the best option, but certainly should not be the first option.”

Aminoshariae said the goal of the systematic review was to summarise data using five in-depth studies of the effectiveness of oral-pain medications.

“The best available data suggests that the use of nonsteroidal medications, with or without acetaminophen, offer the most favorable balance between benefits and harms, optimising efficacy while minimising acute adverse events,” she said.

The research found that, for adults, a combination of 400mg of ibuprofen and 1000mg of acetaminophen was superior to any opioid-containing medications studied.

“Our aim was to create a compendium detailing both the benefits and harms of these medications as a resource for dentists to use in their clinical decision-making,” Aminoshariae concluded.

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