Background and objective: The combination of non-opioid analgesic drugs, though widely used, has been rarely evaluated. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of propacetamol and the non-steroidal analgesic drug ketoprofen, alone or in combination, on pain relief after thyroid surgery performed using remifentanil.
Methods: Ninety-seven patients were randomly allocated to one of the three groups: propacetamol 2 g (32), ketoprofen 100 mg (33) and propacetamol 2 g + ketoprofen 100 mg (32). Each regimen was administered intravenously (i.v.) 30 min before the end of surgery and then every 6 h. If pain was not relieved, patients received an i.v. bolus of tramadol 100 mg. Tramadol consumption and pain intensity using a visual analogue scale was recorded at 1, 2, 8 and 14 h after the end of surgery.
Results: Pain scores were significantly higher with propacetamol compared with ketoprofen 2 h after surgery (35 ± 3.7, 21 ± 2.6, respectively; P < 0.01). The number of patients receiving tramadol was higher with propacetamol alone compared with the two other groups, 1 h (14/32, 4/33, 2/32, respectively; P > 0.01) and 2 h (24/32, 6/33, 8/32, respectively; P < 0.01) after surgery. There was no difference between ketoprofen alone and ketoprofen plus propacetamol, and there was no difference between the three groups from the 8th hour onward.
Conclusions: In the immediate postoperative period after thyroid surgery performed using remifentanil, the concomitant use of propacetamol and ketoprofen does not improve analgesia compared with ketoprofen alone.