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INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of postoperative medications in decreasing pain after nonsurgical endodontic treatment using a network meta-analytic approach. METHODS: MEDLINE, Embase, CENTRAL, CINAHL, and Scopus were searched (until July 31, 2019). Two reviewers selected eligible randomized controlled trials and extracted and meta-analyzed data to estimate the treatment effects of pain assessed on a 0-100 scale (mean difference [MD]); 95% credible interval [CrI], and surface under the cumulative ranking curve [SUCRA]) at 6-8, 12, 24, and 48 hours postoperatively after the administration of various interventions. The Cochrane risk of bias tool was applied to eligible trials. The overall quality of evidence was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach obtained from the CINeMA Web application (University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland). RESULTS: Eight interventions among 11 studies were identified: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), NSAIDs + acetaminophen, NSAIDs + benzodiazepines, NSAIDs + opioids, corticosteroids, opioids, acetaminophen, and placebo. Compared with placebo, nonsurgical endodontic treatment pain 6-8 hours postoperatively improved with NSAIDs + acetaminophen (MD = -22; 95% CrI, -38 to -7.2; SUCRA = 73%; moderate confidence) and NSAIDs (MD = -21; 95% CrI, -34 to -7.6; SUCRA = 68%; very low confidence). At 12 and 24 hours, only NSAIDs were effective in decreasing postoperative pain. At 48 hours, no treatment resulted in significant pain reduction. Corticosteroids and opioids did not significantly decrease pain. No major safety concerns were reported. CONCLUSIONS: Very low- to moderate-quality evidence suggests that NSAIDs or NSAIDs + acetaminophen administered after nonsurgical endodontic treatment lead to a clinically relevant decrease in postoperative pain for patients with irreversible pulpitis or pulpal necrosis and are the most effective treatments available. Postoperative corticosteroids or opioids did not significantly decrease postoperative pain.

Original publication




Journal article


J Endod

Publication Date





1387 - 1402.e4


Endodontic treatment, efficacy, oral medications, postoperative pain, Acetaminophen, Analgesics, Opioid, Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal, Endodontics, Humans, Network Meta-Analysis, Pain, Postoperative