Analgesic efficacy and safety of intravenous paracetamol (acetaminophen) administered as a 2 g starting dose following third molar surgery

Eur J Pain. 2006 May;10(4):371-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpain.2005.06.004. Epub 2005 Aug 8.


Background: The recommended dose for intravenous (IV) paracetamol injection in adults is 1g, however pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic findings suggest that a better analgesia could be obtained with a 2 g starting dose.

Methods: A single-centre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 3-parallel group study was performed to demonstrate the analgesic efficacy and safety of IV paracetamol 2 g. Following third molar surgery, patients reporting moderate to severe pain received a single 15-min infusion of either IV paracetamol 2 g, IV paracetamol 1g or placebo. Efficacy and safety were evaluated over 8 h. Laboratory tests were performed before and 48 h after drug administration.

Results: Two hundred and ninety seven patients (132 = IV paracetamol 2g; 132 = IV paracetamol 1g; 33 = placebo) were randomised and completed the study. The summed pain relief over 6h (TOTPAR6) was significantly superior with IV paracetamol 2 g as compared to IV paracetamol 1g and placebo (p < 0.0001). Pain relief scores of IV paracetamol 2g were significantly superior to IV paracetamol 1g and to placebo from T30' to T8h (p < 0.0001). Median duration of analgesia was significantly longer following IV paracetamol 2 g compared to IV paracetamol 1g and placebo (p < 0.0001). Adverse events occurred with the same frequency in the 3 treatment groups. No clinically significant changes from baseline were observed for vital signs or laboratory tests.

Conclusion: The analgesic efficacy of a 2 g starting dose of IV paracetamol was superior over the recommended dose of 1g in terms of magnitude and duration of analgesic effect for postoperative pain following third molar surgery, with no significant difference between groups regarding safety.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / administration & dosage*
  • Acetaminophen / adverse effects*
  • Adult
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / adverse effects
  • Anesthetics, Intravenous / administration & dosage
  • Anesthetics, Intravenous / adverse effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous / adverse effects
  • Injections, Intravenous / methods
  • Male
  • Molar, Third / surgery
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy*
  • Placebo Effect
  • Postoperative Care / methods*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Anesthetics, Intravenous
  • Acetaminophen