OTC Naproxen and Acetaminophen Anti-Inflammatory Action in Dental Implant Patients

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    Hersh, Elliot V., DMD, MS, PhD
Updated on 6 July 2022


This double-blind pilot study will evaluate the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of an over-the-counter (OTC) regimen of naproxen sodium versus acetaminophen in patients receiving one or two (adjacent) dental implants. It will also confirm that naproxen sodium in the OTC dosage range is a good alternative to immediate-release opioid formulations, which are subject to misuse, abuse and diversion in this patient population.


Placement of dental implants is a frequently performed outpatient surgical procedure, with United States dentists currently placing implants in approximately 500,000 patients per year.This procedure has become the gold standard for replacing missing teeth due to its high level of predictability and patient acceptance, with long-term success rates greater than 95%. Thus, the number of patients opting for this procedure over dentures and fixed bridges continues to increase. In the period between 1999 and 2000 only 0.7% of the USA population had missing teeth with implants in contrast to 5.7% between 2015 and 2016 It is estimated that by 2026, if the current pace of dental implant placement continues, approximately 17% of the population will have dental implants.

Dental implant surgery involves the incision of gingival tissue to expose the underlying bone, followed by the creation of a precise bony cavity where the implant will be placed using a specialized surgical drill, and lastly the screwing of the implant into bone using a specialized handpiece Thus, it is not surprising that post-surgical pain is a common sequela following dental implant surgery. Patients often experience post-surgical pain for several days after the placement of one to three dental implants, but at a pain intensity level that is generally less than that of dental impaction surgery. This post-surgical pain is inflammatory in nature; thus, NSAIDs have demonstrated efficacy and are the preferred analgesics in this patient population. Postoperative administration of intranasal ketorolac (SPRIX) and oral acetaminophen 325 mg plus codeine 30 mg have both demonstrated efficacy.

The soft tissue and bony trauma associated with dental implant surgery upregulates inflammatory mediators both locally and systemically. Elevated levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, and macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1 have been observed in gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) from the implant site and the adjacent teeth one week after surgery. Prostaglandin E2 has been measured in the GCF of teeth surrounding implant sites employing similar methodology. Additionally, standard periodontal flap and bony recontouring surgery, which shares many similarities to dental implant surgery, induces an upregulation in immunoreactive prostaglandin E2 and leukotriene B4 levels at the surgical site. Dental implant surgery also increases cytokine levels in plasma, indicative of a systemic inflammatory response. Thus, in addition to being a model to study the efficacy and tolerability of OTC analgesics, dental implant surgery also appears to be an excellent model to study the anti-inflammatory properties of NSAIDs such as naproxen sodium.

Therefore, the investigators propose to initiate a double-blind, pilot study to evaluate the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of an OTC regimen of naproxen sodium versus acetaminophen in dental implant surgery patients. Notably, the vast majority of these patients are over the age of 45, a patient demographic that is rarely captured in postsurgical dental pain studies. Compared to dental impaction surgery patients, implant surgery patients possess more comorbidities such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia and hyperglycemia Thus, while dental impaction patients are typically on few if any drugs, polypharmacy is more of the norm in dental implant surgery patients. Performing a controlled study with OTC naproxen sodium in this population will provide the opportunity to confirm that its short-term use is generally safe and effective in these older, more medically complex patients. It will also confirm that naproxen sodium in the OTC dosage range is a good alternative to immediate-release opioid formulations, which are subject to misuse, abuse and diversion in this patient population.

Condition Dental endosseous implant, Acute Pain, Acute Pain, Pain, Acute, Pain Acute
Treatment Acetaminophen, Naproxen, tramadol
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04694300
SponsorHersh, Elliot V., DMD, MS, PhD
Last Modified on6 July 2022

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