Comparing paracetamol/codeine and meloxicam for postoperative analgesia in dogs: a non-inferiority trial

Mariana Pacheco, Toby G Knowles, James Hunt, Louisa Slingsby, Polly Taylor, Jo Murrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
476 Downloads (Pure)


Background: There are limited published data on the analgesic efficacy of 26 paracetamol/codeine in dogs.

Methods: Prospective, randomized, blinded, positive-controlled clinical trial with 70 dogs (paracetamol/codeine, n = 46; meloxicam, n = 24) undergoing surgery. Drugs were administered orally two hours before and for 48 hours after surgery at the licensed dose. Anaesthesia was standardised. Dogs received buprenorphine 6- hourly for the first 24 hours after surgery. Outcome assessments were made pre-trial and at regular intervals up to 48 hours after extubation and comprised the Glasgow Composite Measure Pain Score (GCMPS-SF), visual analogue scale for sedation and inflammation and mechanical nociceptive threshold (MNT). Non-inferiority of paracetamol/codeine compared with meloxicam was defined using a non-inferiority margin (Δ) against the 95% confidence interval of the difference between the treatment means.

Results: Pain scores were low in both treatment groups. With the exception of MNT all upper 95% confidence intervals for the differences between outcome variable treatment means were within + Delta for each variable, establishing non-inferiority for each outcome variable.

Conclusions: Paracetamol/codeine is a useful peri-operative analgesic that within the context of the peri-operative analgesia regimen studied (methadone premedication, buprenorphine for the 1st 24 hours after surgery) shows non-inferiority to the NSAID meloxicam.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Record
Early online date3 Jan 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jan 2020


  • paracetamol/codeine
  • dogs
  • peri-operative pain
  • analgesia
  • meloxicam


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