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Archive March 2020 XXI, No. 3

Ideas That Work: Pain Management

Oral Acetaminophen Effective Option

CSA Surgical Center
GAME CHANGER The oral form of acetaminophen may reduce postoperative pain as effectively as the more expensive and harder to get IV form of the drug.

Our facility knew the benefits of administering IV acetaminophen preoperatively to reduce post-op pain, but it was always in short supply or cost prohibitive. To find out if oral acetaminophen produced beneficial results we administered 1,000 mg to gallbladder patients before surgery in the second half of 2016, and most arrived in the PACU resting comfortably without feeling sick or nauseous. Only 7% of these patients needed to stay in recovery for more than two hours, compared with 26% of the patients during the first six months of 2016. The number of patients who needed three or more post-op narcotics fell from 7.6% to 0%. The results were so good and the risk to patients so low that we rolled out the practice to our entire general surgery population later in 2017 and have done it ever since. We continue to be impressed that something so inexpensive and so simple to implement has yielded such tremendous results for our patients.

Lisa Leathers, BSN, RN
CSA Surgical Center
Columbia, Mo.

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