Introduction: Pediatric fracture pain is under-treated both in the emergency department (ED) and after discharge. Oral opioids and ibuprofen are amongst the top medications used to treat this pain. This study describes the post ED discharge effectiveness and safety of ibuprofen and oxycodone. Methods: A prospective cohort observational study was conducted at the Stollery Children’s Hospital (Edmonton, Alberta) from June 2010 to July 2014. Children aged 4-16 years, with an acute fracture, who were being discharged home with either ibuprofen (Ibu) or oxycodone (Oxy) for pain management were eligible for recruitment. Patients were contacted daily for three days, and at 2 and 6 weeks post-injury. Information regarding medication use, pain levels (with the Faces Pain Scale, Revised), adjuvant therapies, adverse events, and side effects and follow up was collected. Results: A total of 329 children (n=112 Oxy, n= 217 Ibu) were included. Mean age was 10.4 years (Ibu), and 12.3 years (Oxy); 68% (n=223) were male. Fracture types included forearm/wrist (47%,n=154), lower leg/ankle (14%,n=46), shoulder/clavicle (13%,n=42), and upper arm/elbow (12%,n=39). Reductions were performed in 34% of cases (n=113), while 9% (n=29) had buckle fractures. Children receiving Oxy had their eating, sleeping, play, and school attendance affected more than those receiving Ibu. More children receiving Oxy (81%, 91/112) experienced an adverse effect than those receiving Ibu (61%, 129/213) (p=0.0002); abdominal pain, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting were most prominent. The change in pain score (maximum pain - post-treatment pain) for Day 1 was 3.79 for Oxy and 3.61 Ibu; Day 2 was 3.68 Oxy and 3.55 Ibu; Day 3 was 3.34 Oxy and 3.66 Ibu. On Day 1, 59% (66/112) of Oxy cohort patients used other medication(s) for their pain treatment; 19% (41/213) did the same in the Ibu cohort. Conclusion: Ibuprofen and oxycodone provide similar pain relief for children with post-Ed discharge fracture pain. Oxycodone has greater impact on activities of daily living, side effects, and use of other medications to relieve pain. Oxycodone does not appear to confer any benefit over ibuprofen for pain relief, and given its negative side effect profile, this study suggests that ibuprofen is the better option. Further research is needed to determine the best combination treatment for fracture pain for children.
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