When should analgesics and antiemetics be administered to patients with acute undifferentiated abdominal pain in the emergency department (ED)?

Updated: Jul 23, 2018
  • Author: Sandy Craig, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

Administer parenteral analgesic and antiemetic as needed for patient comfort. The administration of analgesics to patients with acute undifferentiated abdominal pain has historically been discouraged and criticized because of concerns that they render the physical findings less reliable. [55] However, at least 8 randomized controlled studies have demonstrated that administering opioid analgesic medications to adult and pediatric patients with acute undifferentiated abdominal pain is safe; no study has shown that analgesics adversely affect the accuracy of physical examination. [11]  Factors associated with prescription of any analgesia and opioids are older age and payment source; in addition, use of computed tomography (CT) scanning  was associated with prescription of analgesics. [55]


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