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Single-dose intravenous diclofenac for acute postoperative pain in adults

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, August 2018
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (89th percentile)
  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (59th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 news outlet
1 policy source
16 tweeters
2 Facebook pages


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128 Mendeley
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Single-dose intravenous diclofenac for acute postoperative pain in adults
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, August 2018
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd012498.pub2
Pubmed ID

Ewan D McNicol, McKenzie C Ferguson, Roman Schumann


Postoperative administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduces patient opioid requirements and, in turn, reduces the incidence and severity of opioid-induced adverse events (AEs). To assess the analgesic efficacy and adverse effects of single-dose intravenous diclofenac, compared with placebo or an active comparator, for moderate to severe postoperative pain in adults. We searched the following databases without language restrictions: the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (Cochrane Register of Studies Online), MEDLINE, and Embase on 22 May 2018. We checked clinical trials registers and reference lists of retrieved articles for additional studies. We included randomized trials that compared a single postoperative dose of intravenous diclofenac with placebo or another active treatment, for treating acute postoperative pain in adults following any surgery. We used standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane. Two review authors independently considered trials for review inclusion, assessed risk of bias, and extracted data.Our primary outcome was the number of participants in each arm achieving at least 50% pain relief over a four- and six-hour period.Our secondary outcomes were time to, and number of participants using rescue medication; withdrawals due to lack of efficacy, AEs, and for any cause; and number of participants experiencing any AE, serious AEs (SAEs), and NSAID-related AEs. We performed a post hoc analysis of opioid-related AEs, to enable indirect comparisons with other analyses of postoperative analgesics.For subgroup analysis, we planned to analyze different doses and formulations of parenteral diclofenac separately.We assessed the overall quality of the evidence for each outcome using GRADE and created two 'Summary of findings' tables. We included eight studies, involving 1756 participants undergoing various surgeries (dental, mixed minor, abdominal, and orthopedic), with 20 to 175 participants receiving intravenous diclofenac in each study. Mean study population ages ranged from 24.5 years to 54.5 years. Intravenous diclofenac doses varied among and within studies, ranging from 3.75 mg to 75 mg. Five studies assessed newer formulations of parenteral diclofenac that could be administered as an undiluted intravenous bolus. Most studies had an unclear risk of bias for several domains and a high risk of bias due to small sample size. The overall quality of evidence for each outcome was generally low for reasons including unclear risk of bias in studies, imprecision, and low event numbers.Primary outcomeThree studies (277 participants) produced a number needed to treat for an additional beneficial outcome (NNTB) for at least 50% of maximum pain relief versus placebo of 2.4 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.9 to 3.1) over four hours (low-quality evidence). Four studies (436 participants) produced an NNTB of 3.8 versus placebo (95% CI 2.9 to 5.9) over six hours (low-quality evidence). No studies provided data for the comparison of intravenous diclofenac with another NSAID over four hours. At six hours there was no difference between intravenous diclofenac and another NSAID (low-quality evidence).Secondary outcomesFor secondary efficacy outcomes, intravenous diclofenac was generally superior to placebo and similar to other NSAIDs.For time to rescue medication, comparison of intravenous diclofenac versus placebo demonstrated a median of 226 minutes for diclofenac versus 80 minutes for placebo (5 studies, 542 participants, low-quality evidence). There were insufficient data for pooled analysis for comparisons of diclofenac with another NSAID (very low-quality evidence).For the number of participants using rescue medication, two studies (235 participants) compared diclofenac with placebo. The number needed to treat to prevent one additional harmful event (NNTp) (here, the need for rescue medication) compared with placebo was 3.0 (2.2 to 4.5, low-quality evidence). The comparison of diclofenac with another NSAID included only one study (98 participants). The NNTp was 4.5 (2.5 to 33) for ketorolac versus diclofenac (very low-quality evidence).The numbers of participants withdrawing were generally low and inconsistently reported (very low-quality evidence). Participant withdrawals were: 6% (8/140) diclofenac versus 5% (7/128) placebo, and 9% (8/87) diclofenac versus 7% (6/82) another NSAID for lack of efficacy; 2% (4/211) diclofenac versus 0% (0/198) placebo, and 3% (4/138) diclofenac versus 2% (2/129) another NSAID due to AEs; and 11% (21/191) diclofenac versus 17% (30/179) placebo, and 18% (21/118) diclofenac versus 15% (17/111) another NSAID for any cause.Overall adverse event rates were similar between intravenous diclofenac and placebo (71% in both groups, 2 studies, 296 participants) and between intravenous diclofenac and another NSAID (55% and 58%, respectively, 2 studies, 265 participants) (low-quality evidence for both comparisons). Serious and specific AEs were rare, preventing meta-analysis.There were sufficient data for a dose-effect analysis for our primary outcome for only one alternative dose, 18.75 mg. Analysis of the highest dose employed in each study demonstrated a relative benefit compared with placebo of 1.9 (1.4 to 2.4), whereas for the group receiving 18.75 mg, the relative benefit versus placebo was 1.6 (1.2 to 2.1, 2 studies). Compared to another NSAID, the high-dose analysis demonstrated a relative benefit of 0.9 (0.8 to 1.1), for the group receiving 18.75 mg, the relative benefit was 0.78 (0.65 to 0.93). For direct comparison of high dose versus 18.75 mg, the proportion of participants with at least 50% pain relief was 66% (90/137) for the high-dose arm versus 57% (77/135) in the low-dose arm. There were insufficient data for subgroup meta-analysis of different diclofenac formulations. The amount and quality of evidence for the use of intravenous diclofenac as a treatment for postoperative pain is low. The available evidence indicates that postoperative intravenous diclofenac administration offers good pain relief for the majority of patients, but further research may impact this estimate. Adverse events appear to occur at a similar rate to other NSAIDs. Insufficient information is available to assess whether intravenous diclofenac has a different rate of bleeding, renal dysfunction, or cardiovascular events versus other NSAIDs. There was insufficient information to evaluate the efficacy and safety of newer versus traditional formulations of intravenous diclofenac. There was a lack of studies in major and cardiovascular surgeries and in elderly populations, which may be at increased risk for adverse events.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 128 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 128 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 21 16%
Student > Bachelor 17 13%
Student > Postgraduate 10 8%
Researcher 10 8%
Student > Ph. D. Student 9 7%
Other 27 21%
Unknown 34 27%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 46 36%
Nursing and Health Professions 14 11%
Social Sciences 8 6%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 7 5%
Psychology 3 2%
Other 10 8%
Unknown 40 31%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 21. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 03 September 2020.
All research outputs
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Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
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Altmetric has tracked 17,370,809 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 93rd percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,661 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 25.0. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 74% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 283,475 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 89% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 159 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 59% of its contemporaries.