Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Preventive Acetaminophen Reduces Postoperative Opioid Consumption, Vomiting, and Pain Scores After Surgery: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
  1. Brett Doleman, MBBS,
  2. David Read, BMBS,
  3. Jonathan N. Lund, DM and
  4. John P. Williams, PhD
  1. From the Division of Medical Sciences and Graduate Entry Medicine, University of Nottingham, Derby, United Kingdom
  1. Address correspondence to: Brett Doleman, MBBS, University of Nottingham, Royal Derby Hospital, Uttoxeter Rd, Derby DE22 3DT, United Kingdom (e-mail: dr.doleman{at}


Background and Objectives Preventive analgesia has been proposed as a potential strategy to reduce postoperative pain. However, there is currently no review that focuses on acetaminophen for preventive analgesia.

Methods We conducted a search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cinahl, AMED, and CENTRAL databases identifying randomized controlled trials that compared preventive acetaminophen with postincision acetaminophen.

Results Seven studies with 544 participants were included. Overall, the studies showed a reduction in 24-hour opioid consumption (standardized mean difference [SMD] of −0.52; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], −0.98 to −0.06), lower pain scores at 1 hour (MD, −0.50; 95% CI, −0.98 to −0.02) and 2 hours (MD, −0.34; 95% CI, −0.67 to −0.01), and a lower incidence of postoperative vomiting (risk ratio, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.31–0.83) in the preventive acetaminophen group. Current studies are limited by a potential risk of bias.

Conclusions To our knowledge, this is the first review to describe a potential preventive effect of acetaminophen. However, well-conducted randomized controlled trials are necessary to substantiate the conclusions of this review.

Statistics from


  • The authors declare no conflict of interest.

    This work was presented in part at the GAT conference of The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (June 17–19, 2015).

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.