(HealthDay News) – Children and adolescents given intravenously (IV)-administered acetaminophen after major spine surgery have significantly less postoperative pain, compared with those given placebo, but administration of acetaminophen does not reduce the need for opioids, according to a study published in the Sept 15 issue of Spine.

Arja Hiller, MD, PhD, of the University of Helsinki, and associates conducted a randomized double-blind study involving 36 patients aged 10–18 years who underwent surgery for idiopathic scoliosis or spondylolisthesis. Participants were given IV-administered 30mg/kg acetaminophen or 0.9% sodium chloride at the end of surgery and twice at eight-hour intervals thereafter. The effectiveness on postoperative analgesia, opioid consumption, and acetaminophen concentration was examined.

During a 24-hour follow-up, the researchers found that 39% of patients in the acetaminophen group had a visual analog scale (VAS) pain score of 6 or more, compared with 72% in the placebo group. Patients in the acetaminophen group experienced significantly fewer hours with a VAS score of 6 or more compared with the placebo group (8.7 vs. 17.8% of hours). There was no between-group difference in the consumption of oxycodone in the 24-hour follow-up.

“IV-administered acetaminophen 90mg/kg in 24 hours adjuvant to oxycodone provided better analgesia than placebo, but did not diminish oxycodone consumption after major spine surgery in children and adolescents,” the authors write.

One or more of the authors disclosed financial ties to a commercial entity associated with the research.

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