Impact of multimodal analgesia in critically Ill burn patients

Sierra R. Young, Jeremiah J. Duby, Erin L. Louie, Tina L. Palmieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Opioids are the mainstay of treatment for burn pain. However, these medications may be associated with respiratory depression and dependence. Multimodal analgesia is an alternative method that utilizes both opioid and nonopioid medications with different mechanisms. This study examines the impact of multimodal therapy for postoperative pain control in a burn intensive care unit. This was a retrospective cohort study of patients admitted to the burn unit at a tertiary medical center. Consecutively admitted patients with burns greater than or equal to 10% TBSA and intensive care unit length of stay greater than 7 days were eligible for inclusion (2012-2018). Patients were excluded if they received an opioid infusion greater than 48 hours. Patients treated with multimodal analgesia were compared to those treated with opioids alone. Data were calculated for 5 days after surgery. There were 98 patients in the nonmultimodal group and 97 in the multimodal group. Mean cumulative opioid dose was lower in the multimodal group (1028.7 mg vs 1423.2 mg, P = .0031). Patients with greater than 20% burns had a larger reduction in mean opioid equivalents in the multimodal group (1106 vs 1594 mg, P = .009) compared to patients with burns less than 20% (940 vs 1282 mg, P = .058). There was no difference in mean pain scores on postoperative day 5 (6.2 ± 2.2 vs 5.5 ± 2.3, P = .07) or at intensive care unit discharge (4.7 ± 2.4 vs 4.7 ± 2.8, P = .99). The use of multimodal analgesia significantly reduced cumulative opioid equivalent dose without compromising pain control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)986-990
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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