Opioid administration for acute abdominal pain in the pediatric emergency department

Adi Klein-Kremer, MD, Ran D. Goldman, MD

Abstract


The use of opioid analgesia for acute abdominal pain of unclear etiology has traditionally been thought to mask symptoms, alter physical exam findings, delay diagnosis, and increase morbidity and mortality. However, studies in children and adults have demonstrated that administering intravenous opioids to patients with acute abdominal pain induces analgesia but does not delay diagnosis or adversely affect diagnostic accuracy. This review discusses the effects of opioid administration on pain relief and diagnostic accuracy in children with moderate to severe acute abdominal pain who have been evaluated in the emergency department. We hold that current evidence supports the administration of opioids to children with acute abdominal pain, and future trials will help determine safe and effective timing and dosing related to opioid administration.

Keywords


opioids, children, abdominal pain, emergency department

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jom.2007.0033

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