Post tonsillectomy pain: can honey reduce the analgesic requirements?

Anesth Pain Med. Summer 2013;3(1):198-202. doi: 10.5812/aapm.9246. Epub 2013 Jul 1.


Background: Tonsillectomy with or without adenoidectomy is one of the most common surgical procedures performed worldwide, especially for children. Oral honey administration following tonsillectomy in pediatric cases may reduce the need for analgesics via relieving postoperative pain.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of honey on the incidence and severity of postoperative pain in patients undergoing tonsillectomy.

Patients and methods: A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study was performed. One hundred and four patients, who were older than eight, and were scheduled for tonsillectomy, were divided into two equal groups, honey and placebo. Standardized general anesthesia, and postoperative usual analgesic, and antibiotic regimen were administrated for all patients. Acetaminophen plus honey for the honey group, and acetaminophen plus placebo for the placebo group were given daily. They began to receive honey or placebo when the patients established oral intake.

Results: The difference between acetaminophen and acetaminophen plus honey groups was statistically significant both for visual analogue scale (VAS), and number of painkillers taken within the first three postoperative days. The consumption of painkillers differed significantly in every five postoperative days. No significant difference was found between groups regarding the number of awaking at night.

Conclusions: Postoperative honey administration reduces postoperative pain and analgesic requirements in patients after tonsillectomy. As the side effects of honey appear to be negligible, consideration of its routine usage seems to be beneficial along with routine analgesics.

Keywords: Analgesics; Honey; Pain, Postoperative; Tonsillectomy.