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Review
, 17 (16), 2129-35

Safety and Efficacy of the Combination Acetaminophen-Codeine in the Treatment of Pain of Different Origin

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  • PMID: 23893177
Review

Safety and Efficacy of the Combination Acetaminophen-Codeine in the Treatment of Pain of Different Origin

F Franceschi et al. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci.

Abstract

Background: Pain is the most common reason people see doctors in developed Countries and a very common cause of access in Emergency Department (ED). The combination acetaminophen/codeine represents the standard medication in the second step of the WHO analgesic scale and codeine is one of the most commonly used opioid analgesic for a variety of pain conditions. However, many aspects related to safety and efficacy are still undefined.

Aim: To summarize and review the results of the most relevant studies on the efficacy and safety profile of acetaminophen/codeine combination in the treatment of pain of different origin.

Materials and methods: We performed a literature search to identify and evaluate all relevant english-language randomized controlled trials (RCTs), meta-analyses and reviews about the codeine plus paracetamol combination in the treatment of pain from any source.

Results: Acetaminophen/codeine combination is effective in the treatment of moderate to severe pain in all setting analyzed in this study, which include headache, postoperative, osteoarticular and post-traumatic. The best results in terms of safety and efficacy have been obtained in postoperative pain. Efficacy of acetaminophen/codeine combination is not inferior to NSAIDs.

Conclusions: Acetaminophen/codeine combination is effective in the treatment of pain, through a synergistic action of the two molecules, and is not inferior to NSAIDs. Side effects of acetaminophen/codeine are usually minor, differently from NSAIDs, which may induce some potentially life threatening conditions.

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