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Ibuprofen does not hinder bone fracture healing in children

Study results indicate ibuprofen is also an effective and safe option for fracture pain

Date:
July 22, 2020
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Doctors have traditionally avoided prescribing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen to patients with fractures. However, a new study shows ibuprofen is an effective medication for fracture pain in children and its use does not affect fracture healing.
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Doctors have traditionally avoided prescribing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen to patients with fractures. This belief is based on basic science research that supports delayed bone healing in some animal models, as well as in some spinal fusion cases. However, a new study from the University of Missouri School of Medicine and MU Health Care shows ibuprofen is an effective medication for fracture pain in children and its use does not affect fracture healing.

The study examined 95 skeletally immature children with fractures. Forty-six patients in the control group received acetaminophen for pain, while 49 patients in the NSAID group received ibuprofen. Six weeks after surgery, 82% of the control group and 92% of the ibuprofen group had healed fractures. At 10-to-12 week follow-ups, 98% of the control group and 100% of the ibuprofen group had healed.

"The findings of this study are relevant for a wide variety of practitioners," said study co-author Sumit Gupta, MD, an associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at the MU School of Medicine. "I think this study will be especially important when the patient first presents to the emergency department. The physician there should feel comfortable prescribing ibuprofen in addition to acetaminophen as a safe and effective pain reliever that won't hinder a child's bone healing."

Patients in the control and ibuprofen groups reported similar pain management scores during the first three days after injury and at each follow-up interval. For the control group, acetaminophen was used for 3.9 days on average while the ibuprofen group average was 4.3 days.

"We often find that pain management is not adequate with just acetaminophen," Gupta said. "Patients respond better to having two medications at the same time. So if that second medication can be ibuprofen instead of a narcotic, that's a much safer alternative."

Gupta believes the results from this study warrant further investigation to examine the effectiveness of other NSAID drugs besides ibuprofen, how NSAIDs work on specific types and locations of fractures and the effectiveness of this treatment on specific patient profiles, including adults.


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Julia A.V. Nuelle, Kelsie M. Coe, Harvey A. Oliver, James L. Cook, Daniel G. Hoernschemeyer, Sumit K. Gupta. Effect of NSAID Use on Bone Healing in Pediatric Fractures. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics, 2020; Publish Ahead of Print DOI: 10.1097/BPO.0000000000001603

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Ibuprofen does not hinder bone fracture healing in children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200722112800.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2020, July 22). Ibuprofen does not hinder bone fracture healing in children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 17, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200722112800.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Ibuprofen does not hinder bone fracture healing in children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200722112800.htm (accessed June 17, 2024).

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