Comparison of intramuscular paracetamol and intramuscular pethidine as analgesic in the first stage of labor

  • Ramon Sunday Omotayo
  • Samuel O. Faturoti
  • Richard Rotimi Ehinmitan
  • Folorunsho Obaifo Alao
Keywords: Analgesic, intramuscular, labor, paracetamol, pethidine


Background: In general, opioid use as labor analgesic has been associated with some maternal and neonatal side effects including maternal sleepiness and reduced neonatal Apgar score among other side effects. In view of this, many mothers have been undergoing labor without analgesia. The search for safer and effective alternative has continued over the years.

Objective: The study was aimed at comparing the efficacy and side effect profile of intramuscular paracetamol and intramuscular pethidine as analgesia in labor.

Study Design: This study is a prospective randomized double‑blind comparative study.

Materials and Methods: Two groups of 54 consenting parturients each were recruited following a computer‑generated randomization pattern. Parturients in one group had 600 mg of intramuscular paracetamol and the other 50 mg intramuscular pethidine, and mean pain reduction at 30 min, 1, 2, 3, and 4 h was obtained using a visual analog scale in both groups and compared. Demographic data and primary and secondary outcomes of both groups were compared using t‑test (for quantitative measures). The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17 was used for statistical analysis.

Results: There was comparable efficacy of labor pain reduction in paracetamol and pethidine after 1 h of drug administration and up till 3 h after (P < 0.001), however, pain reduction was more in pethidine group as expected. The maternal and fetal side effect profile of paracetamol was found to be better than that of pethidine.

Conclusion: This study has shown that paracetamol can be used for labor pain with the added advantage of better side effect profile as compared with pethidine.

Keywords: Analgesic; intramuscular; labor; paracetamol; pethidine


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0189-5117