Background Ketorolac is a parenteral, nonsteroidal analgesic that does not have a narcotic's risks of respiratory depression, hypotension, or dependence. Its usefulness in providing pain relief in pediatric patients with acute vaso-occlusive crisis of sickle cell disease has not been studied to date.
Methods Twenty-nine patients with sickle cell disease between the ages of 5 and 18 years who presented to The Children's Hospital of Alabama emergency department (ED) with 41 distinct episodes of acute vaso-occlusive pain crisis were enrolled prospectively and randomized to receive either 0.9 mg/kg intravenous (TV) ketorolac or placebo in a double-blind fashion. All patients also received IV fluids and an initial 0.1 mg/kg of IV morphine. Subsequent standardized doses of morphine were given every 2 hours over a 6-hour observation period based upon severity of pain as scored by a 10-cm linear visual analog scale (VAS). Vital signs and pain severity were recorded initially and assessed hourly. Disposition was made at the end of the observation period.
Results Patients receiving ketorolac and those receiving placebo were of similar age, weight, gender, number of prior ED visits, number of prior hospital admissions, duration of pain prior to presentation, and initial pain score. The total dose of morphine received, reduction in severity of pain as measured by VAS, rate of hospital admission, and rate of return to the ED for discharged patients did not differ significantly between the two groups.
Conclusion We were unable to demonstrate a synergistic analgesic effect for ketorolac in the treatment of pain from acute vaso-occlusive crisis in pediatric sickle cell disease. Further investigations involving larger samples of sickle cell patients may be needed to further define a role for ketorolac in the acute management of sickle cell vaso-occlusive pain.
© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.