Costs and effectiveness of rofecoxib, celecoxib, and acetaminophen for preventing pain after ambulatory otolaryngologic surgery

Mehernoor F. Watcha, Tijani Issioui, Kevin W. Klein, Paul F. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


We designed this randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study to compare the analgesic effect of the cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors rofecoxib and celecoxib with acetaminophen when administered before outpatient otolaryngologic surgery in 240 healthy subjects. Patients were assigned to one of four study groups: Group 1, control (vitamin C 500 mg); Group 2, acetaminophen 2 g; Group 3, celecoxib 200 mg; or Group 4, rofecoxib 50 mg. The first oral dose of the study medication was administered 15-45 min before surgery, and a second dose of the same medication was given on the morning after surgery. Recovery times, side effects, pain scores, and the use of 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. The need for rescue analgesia and peak pain scores were used as the primary end points for estimating efficacy, and the costs to achieve complete satisfaction with analgesia were used for the cost-efficacy comparisons. Premedication with oral rofecoxib (50 mg) or celecoxib (200 mg) was more effective than placebo in reducing postoperative pain scores and analgesic requirements in the postoperative care unit and after discharge. The analgesic efficacy of oral acetaminophen (2 g) was limited to the postdischarge period. Patient satisfaction with pain management was improved in all three treatment groups compared with placebo but was higher with celecoxib and rofecoxib compared with acetaminophen. Rofecoxib was also more effective than celecoxib in reducing pain and improving patient satisfaction after otolaryngologic surgery. Rofecoxib achieved complete satisfaction with pain control in one additional patient, who would not have otherwise been satisfied, at lower incremental costs to the institution compared with celecoxib. We conclude that rofecoxib 50 mg orally is more cost-effective for reducing postoperative pain and improving patient satisfaction with their postoperative pain management than celecoxib (200 mg) or acetaminophen (2 g) in the ambulatory setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)987-994
Number of pages8
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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