Sublingual buprenorphine for acute renal colic pain management: a double-blind, randomized controlled trial

Int J Emerg Med. 2014 Jan 3;7(1):1. doi: 10.1186/1865-1380-7-1.


Background: The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy and safety of sublingual buprenorphine with intravenous morphine sulfate for acute renal colic in the emergency department.

Methods: In this double-dummy, randomized controlled trial, we enrolled patients aged 18 to 55 years who had a clinical diagnosis of acute renal colic. Patients received either 2 mg sublingual buprenorphine with an IV placebo, or 0.1 mg/kg IV morphine sulfate with a sublingual placebo. Subjects graded their pain with a standard 11-point numeric rating scale (NRS) before medication administration and 20 and 40 minutes after that. The need for rescue analgesia and occurrence of side effects were also recorded in the two groups.

Results: Of 69 patients analyzed, 37 had received buprenorphine, and 32 had taken morphine. Baseline characteristics were similar in both groups. NRS pain scores were reduced across time by administration of both buprenorphine (from 9.8 to 5.22 and then 2.30) and morphine (from 9.78 to 4.25 and then 1.8), significantly (P <0.0001). The two regimens did not differ significantly for pain reduction (P?=?0.260). Dizziness was more frequently reported by the buprenorphine group (62.1% versus 37.5%, P <0.05) but other adverse effects observed within 40 minutes were similar in the two groups.

Conclusions: Sublingual buprenorphine (2 mg) is as effective as morphine sulfate (0.1 mg/kg) in acute renal colic pain management.