Comparison of 3 protocols for analgesia control after cesarean delivery: a randomized controlled trial

Lotem Dafna, Hadas Ganer Herman, Masha Ben-Zvi, Mor Bustan, Limor Sasson, Jacob Bar, Michal Kovo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Proper pain control after cesarean delivery is of high clinical importance to the recovery and relief of patients after surgical delivery. Objective: We aimed to compare fixed time interval to on-demand regimens of nonopioid analgesics and to assess whether a protocol that is based on intravenous administration is superior to oral administration. Study Design: This was a randomized controlled trial performed between April 2017 and May 2018. Patients who underwent elective cesarean delivery were assigned randomly to receive 1 of 3 pain relief protocols for the first 48 hours after surgery: (1) the fixed intravenous protocol included intravenous paracetamol (acetaminophen) 3 times daily with oral ibuprofen twice daily, (2) the fixed oral protocol included oral paracetamol 3 times daily with oral ibuprofen twice daily; if the patient requested additional analgesia, tramadol hydrochloride or dipyrone were given as rescue treatments, (3) the on-demand protocol included oral paracetamol or ibuprofen or dipyrone (based on visual analog scale). Pain intensity was measured and compared with the use of the visual analog scale (range, 0 ([no pain] to 10 [worst pain]). Total doses of pain relief analgesia and maternal and neonatal adverse effects were compared between the groups. Results: The study included 127 women who were assigned randomly to the intravenous protocol group (n=41), oral protocol group (n=43), and on-demand protocol group (n=43). There were no between group differences in maternal and pregnancy characteristics, cesarean delivery indications, or surgical technique. The average visual analog scale score was 6.2±0.8 in the intravenous group, 7.0±1.1 in the oral group, and 7.5±0.7 in the on-demand group, in the first 24 hours (P=.01) and 6.4±0.7, 6.8±0.9, and 7.4±0.7 for the total 48 hours, respectively (P<.001). Mean pain score reduction was higher in the intravenous protocol compared with the fixed oral protocol group (4.7±1.2 vs 4.0±1.4; P=.02). The median doses of pain relief analgesia in the intravenous group were 5 (interquartile range, 5–7), 6 in the oral group (interquartile range, 4–6), and 4 in the on-demand group (interquartile range, 3–6; P=.001) in the first 24 hours and 9 (interquartile range, 7–10), 9 (interquartile range, 7–10), and 7 (interquartile range, 4–9), respectively, for the total 48 hours (P<.001). There were no “between group” differences in neonatal birthweight or maternal and neonatal adverse outcomes. Conclusion: Administration of pain relief analgesia (ibuprofen and acetaminophen) in fixed time intervals (intravenous or oral) after cesarean delivery yielded reduced visual analog scale pain scores compared with an on-demand protocol, despite fewer pain relief drugs consumed in the on-demand group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-118
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics &amp; gynecology MFM
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • analgesia
  • cesarean delivery
  • intravenous paracetamol
  • on-demand
  • opioid


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