Adjunctive methods of pain control in burns

Sandip K. Pal, Joaquin Cortiella, David Herndon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Opiates remain the most common form of analgesic therapy in the burn patient today. Because of increased opiate requirements, optimal relief of burn pain continues to be a problem for these patients. The purpose of this article is to summarize those alternative pain control methods that appear in the literature. For instance, in minor burns acetominophen continues to be a useful first line analgesic. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and benzodiazepine are generally combined with opiates while entonox seems to be used commonly in the adolescent patients to relieve procedural pain. Antidepressants appear to enhance opiate-induced analgesia while anticonvulsants are useful in the treatment of sympathetically maintained pain following burns. Ketamine has been extensively used during burn dressing changes but its psychological side-effects have limited its use. Clonidine, however, has shown promise in reducing pain without causing pruritus or respiratory depression. Other forms such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), psychological techniques, topical and systemic local anaesthetics are also useful adjuncts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-412
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1997


  • Analgesia
  • Burn injury
  • Burn pain
  • Narcotics
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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