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The Use of Dexamethasone to Reduce Pain After Tonsillectomy in Adults: A Double-Blind Prospective Randomized Trial.

Author(s): Lachance M, Lacroix Y, Audet N, Savard P, Thuot F

Affiliation(s): From the ENT Department, Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Quebec, Laval University, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

Publication date & source: 2007-11-26, Laryngoscope., [Epub ahead of print]

OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS:: To determine the effectiveness of dexamethasone to reduce pain after tonsillectomy in adults by at least 13 mm on the visual analogue scale. The secondary objective was to reduce the use of narcotics by at least 20%. STUDY DESIGN:: This multicentric study is a prospective double-blind randomized controlled trial. METHODS:: A total of 102 patients were enrolled and received a 4-day trial either of dexamethasone in decreasing doses or placebo. The patients were asked to note the level of pain on the visual analogue scale daily for 7 days. They also had to record their consumption of analgesic and any eventual side effects. RESULTS:: There were no statistically or clinically significant differences between the two groups for the level of pain noted on the visual analogue scale for the first 4 and 7 days. There were no statistical differences for the consumption of hydromorphone between the two groups. CONCLUSION:: We cannot recommend the use of dexamethasone on a routine basis following tonsillectomy in adults for the reduction of pain or narcotics consumption.

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