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Trauma Surg Acute Care Open


OBJECTIVES: Fracture is a common injury after a traumatic event. The efficacy and safety of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat acute pain related to fractures is not well established.

METHODS: Clinically relevant questions were determined regarding NSAID use in the setting of trauma-induced fractures with clearly defined patient populations, interventions, comparisons and appropriately selected outcomes (PICO). These questions centered around efficacy (pain control, reduction in opioid use) and safety (non-union, kidney injury). A systematic review including literature search and meta-analysis was performed, and the quality of evidence was graded per the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology. The working group reached consensus on the final evidence-based recommendations.

RESULTS: A total of 19 studies were identified for analysis. Not all outcomes identified as critically important were reported in all studies, and the outcome of pain control was too heterogenous to perform a meta-analysis. Nine studies reported on non-union (three randomized control trials), six of which reported no association with NSAIDs. The overall incidence of non-union in patients receiving NSAIDs compared with patients not receiving NSAIDs was 2.99% and 2.19% (p=0.04), respectively. Of studies reporting on pain control and reduction of opioids, the use of NSAIDs reduced pain and the need for opioids after traumatic fracture. One study reported on the outcome of acute kidney injury and found no association with NSAID use.

CONCLUSIONS: In patients with traumatic fractures, NSAIDs appear to reduce post-trauma pain, reduce the need for opioids and have a small effect on non-union. We conditionally recommend the use of NSAIDs in patients suffering from traumatic fractures as the benefit appears to outweigh the small potential risks.

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