Tonsillectomy frequently results in a significant degree of post-operative pain. Conventional management consists of the administration of intra-muscular opiates prior to the commencement of oral analgesia and is often inadequate, producing variable levels of pain relief.
One of the recommended uses of benzocaine lozenges is the relief of throat discomfort following tonsillectomy, but there are no clinical trials to support this claim. Therefore, a prospective placebo controlled trial was undertaken to compare the efficacy of benzocaine lozenges (10 mg.) with standard oral analgesia in the management of post-operative pain following tonsillectomy in an adult population.
Consecutive patients undergoing elective tonsillectomy were randomised to receive either benzocaine lozenges (10 mg.) or placebo. Intake of supplementary oral analgesia was recorded, and the level of postoperative pain was assessed by use of a visual linear analogue scale. There was no significant difference in analgesic intake or pain severity as measured by linear analogue between the two groups.
These results suggest that there is no benefit in administering benzocaine lozenges for the relief of post-tonsillectomy pain, and its use in this situation cannot be recommended.