Efficacy of Intravenous Paracetamol Versus Intravenous Morphine in Acute Limb Trauma




Background: Efficient pain management is one of the most important components of care in the field of emergency medicine. Objectives: This study was conducted to compare intravenous paracetamol and intravenous morphine sulfate for acute pain reduction in patients with limb trauma. Patients and Methods: In a randomized double-blinded clinical trial, all patients (aged 18 years and older) with acute limb trauma and a pain score of greater than 3/10 in the emergency department were recruited; they received either 1 g intravenous paracetamol or 0.1 mg/ kg intravenous morphine sulfate over 15 minutes. The primary outcome was the pain score measured on a numerical rating scale at 0, 15 and 30 minutes after commencing drug administration. The requirement for rescue analgesia and the frequency of adverse reactions were also recorded. Results: Sixty patients randomly received either IV paracetamol (n = 30) or IV morphine (n = 30). The mean reduction in numerical rating scale pain intensity scores at 30 minutes was 3.86 (± 1.61) for paracetamol, and 2.16 (± 1.39) for morphine. However, pain relief was significantly higher in the paracetamol group compared to the morphine group (P < 0.001). Four patients in the paracetamol group and 15 patients in the morphine group needed rescue analgesia and the difference was significant (P = 0.05). Conclusions: Intravenous paracetamol appears to provide better analgesia than intravenous morphine in acute limb trauma. Further larger studies are required.