Effective pain management is a priority in dental practice. Government and private agencies highlight the need to provide optimal pain relief, balancing potential benefits and harms of both opioid and nonopioid analgesic agents. The purpose of this study is to summarize the available evidence on the benefits and harms of analgesic agents, focusing on preexisting systematic reviews.
TYPES OF STUDIES REVIEWED:
An overview of systematic reviews was conducted to evaluate the efficacy or reported adverse events associated with orally administered medication or medication combinations for relief of acute pain. Reviews were inclusive of all age populations but were limited to those that evaluated medication and medication combinations marketed in the United States and had moderate or high methodological quality according to the A MeaSurement Tool to Assess systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) 2 tool.
Five reviews were found eligible for inclusion. The data identified combinations of ibuprofen and acetaminophen as having the highest association with treatment benefit in adult patients and the highest proportion of adult patients who experienced maximum pain relief. Diflunisal, acetaminophen, and oxycodone were found to have the longest duration of action in adult patients. Medication and medication combinations that included opioids were among those associated most frequently with acute adverse events in both child and adult-aged patient populations.
The best available data suggested that the use of nonsteroidal medications, with or without acetaminophen, offered the most favorable balance between benefits and harms, optimizing efficacy while minimizing acute adverse eve