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. Each day, more than 115 Americans die as a result of an opioid overdose, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) alone or in combination with acetaminophen are better at easing dental pain, according to the new research. The study examining relief of acute pain in dentistry—recently featured on the cover of The Journal of the American Dental Association—evaluated the safety and efficacy of dozens of pain-relief options.
The research found that, for adults, a combination of 400 milligrams of ibuprofen and 1,000 milligrams of acetaminophen was superior to any opioid-containing medications studied.
The study also found that opioids or drug combinations that included opioids accounted for the most adverse side effects—including drowsiness, respiratory depression, nausea/vomiting, and constipation—in both children and adults.
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