Research shows ibuprofen does not hinder bone fracture healing in children

July 22, 2020

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.
-end-
In addition to Gupta, the study's lead author was Julia Nuelle, MD, U.S. Air Force. Other MU School of Medicine contributors included Daniel Hoernschemeyer, MD, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery; and James Cook, DVM, PhD, the William & Kathryn Allen Distinguished Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery.

The study, "Effect of NSAID Use on Bone Healing in Pediatric Fractures: A Preliminary, Prospective, Randomized, Blinded Study," was recently published by the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. The study was funded from the University of Missouri Orthopaedic Association and the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute.

University of Missouri-Columbia

Related Pain Articles from Brightsurf:

Pain researchers get a common language to describe pain
Pain researchers around the world have agreed to classify pain in the mouth, jaw and face according to the same system.

It's not just a pain in the head -- facial pain can be a symptom of headaches too
A new study finds that up to 10% of people with headaches also have facial pain.

New opioid speeds up recovery without increasing pain sensitivity or risk of chronic pain
A new type of non-addictive opioid developed by researchers at Tulane University and the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System accelerates recovery time from pain compared to morphine without increasing pain sensitivity, according to a new study published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.

The insular cortex processes pain and drives learning from pain
Neuroscientists at EPFL have discovered an area of the brain, the insular cortex, that processes painful experiences and thereby drives learning from aversive events.

Pain, pain go away: new tools improve students' experience of school-based vaccines
Researchers at the University of Toronto and The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) have teamed up with educators, public health practitioners and grade seven students in Ontario to develop and implement a new approach to delivering school-based vaccines that improves student experience.

Pain sensitization increases risk of persistent knee pain
Becoming more sensitive to pain, or pain sensitization, is an important risk factor for developing persistent knee pain in osteoarthritis (OA), according to a new study by researchers from the Université de Montréal (UdeM) School of Rehabilitation and Hôpital Maisonneuve Rosemont Research Centre (CRHMR) in collaboration with researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM).

Becoming more sensitive to pain increases the risk of knee pain not going away
A new study by researchers in Montreal and Boston looks at the role that pain plays in osteoarthritis, a disease that affects over 300 million adults worldwide.

Pain disruption therapy treats source of chronic back pain
People with treatment-resistant back pain may get significant and lasting relief with dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation therapy, an innovative treatment that short-circuits pain, suggests a study presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2018 annual meeting.

Sugar pills relieve pain for chronic pain patients
Someday doctors may prescribe sugar pills for certain chronic pain patients based on their brain anatomy and psychology.

Peripheral nerve block provides some with long-lasting pain relief for severe facial pain
A new study has shown that use of peripheral nerve blocks in the treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia (TGN) may produce long-term pain relief.

Read More: Pain News and Pain Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.