Cost-efficacy of rofecoxib versus acetaminophen for preventing pain after ambulatory surgery

Tijani Issioui, Kevin W. Klein, Paul F. White, Mehernoor F. Watcha, Gary D. Skrivanek, Stephanie B. Jones, Jie Hu, Bradley F. Marple, Caleb Ing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs are commonly administered as part of a multimodal regimen for pain management in the ambulatory setting. This randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study was designed to compare the analgesic effect of oral rofecoxib, a cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, and acetaminophen when administered alone or in combination prior to outpatient otolaryngologic surgery. Methods: A total of 143 healthy outpatients undergoing elective otolaryngologic surgery were assigned to one of four study groups: group 1 = control (500 mg vitamin C); group 2 = 2 g acetaminophen; group 3 = 50 mg rofecoxib; or group 4 = 2 g acetaminophen and 50 mg rofecoxib. The first oral dose of the study medication was taken 15-45 min before surgery, and a second dose of the same medication was administered on the morning after surgery. Recovery times, side effects, and the need for rescue analgesics were recorded. Follow-up evaluations were performed at 24 and 48 h after surgery to assess postdischarge pain, analgesic requirements, nausea, and patient satisfaction with their postoperative pain management and quality of recovery. Peak pain scores and the need for rescue analgesic medication were used as the endpoints for estimating efficacy of the study drugs, while cost to achieve complete satisfaction with analgesia was used in the cost-effectiveness analysis. Results: Premedication with rofecoxib (50 mg) was significantly more effective than either placebo or acetaminophen (2 g) in reducing the peak postoperative pain, the need for analgesic medication, and improving the quality of recovery and patient satisfaction. Moreover, the addition of acetaminophen failed to improve its analgesic efficacy. An expenditure for rofecoxib of $16.76 (95% confidence interval, $7.89 to 21.03) and $30.24 (95% confidence interval, $5.25 to 54.20) would obtain complete satisfaction with pain control in one additional patient who would not have been satisfied if placebo or acetaminophen, respectively, had been administered prior to surgery. Conclusions: Rofecoxib, 50 mg administered orally, decreased postoperative pain and the need for analgesic rescue medication after otolaryngologic surgery. The addition of 2 g oral acetaminophen failed to improve its analgesic efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)931-937
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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