Acetaminophen in the management of background pain in children post-burn

Walter J. Meyer, Ray J. Nichols, Joaquin Cortiella, Cynthia Villarreal, Janet A. Marvin, Patricia E. Blakeney, David N. Herndon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


This retrospective review evaluated the pain management of 395 acutely burned pediatric patients who were treated by a pain management protocol emphasizing acetaminophen as the initial medication to control background pain. Pain was assessed by using standardized instruments based on observations by patients, nurses, and parents. Morphine was added when scheduled acetaminophen (10- 15 mg/kg/4 hr) did not control background pain. Fifty percent of the children received only acetaminophen to control background pain. Younger children and children with the smallest burns, regardless of age, were likely to be managed with acetaminophen alone. Most peak serum concentrations of acetaminophen were less than 10 μg/mL. When needed, children also received medication for painful procedures, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress symptoms. These additional medications were not more frequently given to children receiving only acetaminophen for background pain. These data suggest that acetaminophen is a safe, useful medication for the control of post-burn background pain in some children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-55
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997


  • Acetaminophen
  • adolescents
  • background pain
  • burn
  • children
  • morphine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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