Use of intravenous acetaminophen in children for analgesia after spinal fusion surgery: A randomized

Nicole Rizkalla, Nicole R. Zane, Janice L. Prodell, Okan U. Elci, Lynne G. Maxwell, Mary Ann Diliberto, Athena F. Zuppa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES Opioid pharmacotherapy is the cornerstone of postoperative analgesia. Despite its effectiveness, it has a variety of potential adverse effects. Therefore, a multimodal approach with non-opioid analgesics would be optimal. The aim of this study was to determine if intravenous (IV) acetaminophen would reduce opioid requirements and improve clinical outcomes in children after surgery. METHODS A single-center, randomized, double-blind study was conducted in 57 children (10-18 years old) undergoing posterior spine fusion surgery between July 2011 to May 2014. All subjects received either acetaminophen or placebo at the end of surgery, followed by repeated doses every 6 hours for a total of 8 doses. RESULTS In the first 24 postoperative hours, the average opioid consumption was lower for the active group compared with the placebo group (p = 0.02). The total unadjusted time to patient controlled analgesia (PCA) discontinuation was also longer in the placebo group than the active group (90 hours vs. 73 hours, p = 0.02); however, this was not statistically significant after normalizing for body weight. Additionally, time to first solid intake was longer without the use of acetaminophen (69 hours vs. 49 hours, p = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS Postoperative use of IV acetaminophen was associated with earlier time to diet advancement and discontinuation of IV analgesics and may result in lower opioid consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-404
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Acetaminophen
  • Analgesia
  • Pediatric
  • Postoperative pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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