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It is important to provide effective postoperative analgesia following a Caesarean section because mothers wish to be pain-free, mobile and alert while caring for their babies. The role of regular oral diclofenac as postoperative analgesia was evaluated in a randomized controlled study and it was compared to the established method of parenteral pethidine. Forty healthy women scheduled for elective Caesarean section under spinal anaesthesia with 2-2.5 mg of heavy bupivacaine 0.5% were randomized to receive either 75 mg of oral diclofenac twice daily or 1 mg/kg of subcutaneous pethidine every 8 hourly. Efficacy of pain relief (visual analogue score), patients' satisfaction and side effects such as sedation, nausea and vomiting were recorded for three days. The demographic variables were similar in both groups. Pain relief was adequate and comparable in both groups with similar mean visual analogue score during the second and third day of the study period.
However, on the first postoperative day, 60% of the diclofenac group population required rescue medication consisting of subcutaneous pethidine in order to achieve the same pain scores as those in the pethidine group who did not require any rescue medications. Women who received oral diclofenac reported lower sedation and higher overall satisfaction. The incidence of nausea and vomiting was similar in both groups. This concluded that although oral diclofenac 75mg twice
daily may not be superior to the traditional method of subcutaneous pethidine for pain relief following caesarean section, it can still be used alone as an alternative, as it has other benefits of a non-opioid analgesia.
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