Analgesic efficacy of morphine sulfate immediate release vs. oxycodone/acetaminophen for acute pain in the emergency department

Published:November 19, 2020DOI:



      Previous research demonstrated that administration of Morphine Sulfate Immediate Release (MSIR) results in similar analgesic efficacy to Oxycodone but with significantly lesser degrees of euphoria and reward. The purpose of this study sit to investigate if MSIR combined with Acetaminophen can serve as an opioid analgesic alternative to Oxycodone combined with acetaminophen (Percocet) for acute pain in the Emergency Department (ED).


      A prospective, randomized, double-blind trial of ED patients aged 18 to 64 years presenting with moderate to severe acute pain as defined by an 11-point numeric rating scale (NRS) with an initial score of ≥5 (0 = no pain and 10 = very severe pain). Patients were randomized to receive either 15 mg MSIR combined with 650 mg of Acetaminophen or 10 mg Oxycodone combined with 650 mg Acetaminophen. Patients were assessed at baseline, 30, 45 and 60 min. The primary outcome was reduction in pain at 60 min. Secondary outcomes include drug likeability and adverse events.


      80 patients were enrolled in the study (40 per group). Demographic characteristics were similar between the groups (P > 0.05). Mean NRS pain scores at baseline were 8.44 for the MSIR group and 8.53 for the Percocet group (P = 0.788). Mean pain scores decreased over time but remained similar between the groups: 30 min (6.03 vs. 6.43; P = 0.453), 45 min (5.31 vs. 5.48; P = 0.779), and 60 min (4.22 vs. 4.87; P = 0.346). Reduction in mean NRS pain scores were statistically significant from baseline to 30, 45 and 60 min within each group (P < 0.0001 at each time point for both groups). The largest NRS mean difference was from baseline to 60 min: 4.2 (95% CI: 3.43 to 5.01) for MSIR group and 3.61 (95% CI: 2.79 to 4.43) for Percocet group. No clinically significant changes or any serious adverse events were observed in either group.


      MSIR provides similar analgesic efficacy as Percocet for short-term pain relief in the ED, similar rates of nausea/vomiting, and lower rates of likeability of the drug.


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