Efficacy of Non-opioid Analgesics to Control Postoperative Pain

A Network Meta-analysis

John A. Carter; Libby K. Black; Dolly Sharma; Tarun Bhagnani; Jonathan S. Jahr


BMC Anesthesiol. 2020;20(272) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: The aim of this network meta-analysis (NMA) was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of intravenous (IV) Meloxicam 30 mg (MIV), an investigational non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and certain other IV non-opioid analgesics for moderate-severe acute postoperative pain.

Methods: We searched PubMed and CENTRAL for Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) (years 2000–2019, adult human subjects) of IV non-opioid analgesics (IV NSAIDs or IV Acetaminophen) used to treat acute pain after abdominal, hysterectomy, bunionectomy or orthopedic procedures. A Bayesian NMA was conducted in R to rank treatments based on the standardized mean differences in sum of pain intensity difference from baseline up to 24 h postoperatively (sum of pain intensity difference: SPID 24). The probability and the cumulative probability of rank for each treatment were calculated, and the surface under the cumulative ranking curve (SUCRA) was applied to distinguish treatments on the basis of their outcomes such that higher SUCRA values indicate better outcomes. The study protocol was prospectively registered with by PROSPERO (CRD42019117360).

Results: Out of 2313 screened studies, 27 studies with 36 comparative observations were included, producing a treatment network that included the four non-opioid IV pain medications of interest (MIV, ketorolac, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen). MIV was associated with the largest SPID 24 for all procedure categories and comparators. The SUCRA ranking table indicated that MIV had the highest probability for the most effective treatment for abdominal (89.5%), bunionectomy (100%), and hysterectomy (99.8%). MIV was associated with significantly less MME utilization versus all comparators for abdominal procedures, hysterectomy, and versus acetaminophen in orthopedic procedures. Elsewhere MME utilization outcomes for MIV were largely equivalent or nominally better than other comparators. Odds of ORADEs were significantly higher for all comparators vs MIV for orthopedic (gastrointestinal) and hysterectomy (respiratory).

Conclusions: MIV 30 mg may provide better pain reduction with similar or better safety compared to other approved IV non-opioid analgesics. Caution is warranted in interpreting these results as all comparisons involving MIV were indirect.