J Pain Palliat Care Pharmacother. 2020 Aug 3:1-6. doi: 10.1080/15360288.2020.1784355. Online ahead of print.
The mainstay of treatment in advanced cancer pain is opioids; however, non-opioid medications such as acetaminophen continue to be included in guidelines despite a lack of clear, convincing evidence for their use. The aim of our study was to determine if acetaminophen improves pain control or reduces opioid utilization in hospitalized patients receiving strong opioids for cancer pain managed by the palliative care consult service (PCCS). We carried out at single-center retrospective cohort study of 194 adult cancer patients seen by the PCCS and who received strong opioids. Patients who received acetaminophen during their admission were compared to those who did not. The primary outcome was a 30% reduction in average daily pain score from admission to discharge using a numeric rating scale. There was no difference between groups in achieving a 30% reduction in pain (35.8% vs. 35.4%, adjusted odds ratio 0.87, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.46 to 1.63). Acetaminophen was associated with a longer LOS (8 days vs. 6 days, adjusted relative risk 1.67, 95% CI 1.30 to 2.15). In this study of cancer patients receiving strong opioids, acetaminophen use was not associated with improved pain control or reduced opioid utilization, but was associated with a greater LOS.