A new study has revealed that an inhaled painkiller recently introduced to the UK can relieve severe pain two to three times quicker than traditional therapies such as, gas and air or morphine, following traumatic injury.
The year-long MAPIT study, led by University of Lincoln’s Professor Aloysius Niroshan Siriwardena and carried out by East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), showed that the drug Penthrox (methoxyflurane) is significantly more effective in terms of speed of pain reduction.
Chief investigator, Professor Aloysius Niroshan Siriwardena, commented: “There are many barriers to adequate pain relief.
“This study is the first to compare methoxyflurane with all other commonly used analgesics in the prehospital setting and the superior results add to the weight of positive findings from other UK and European hospital studies.
“From an academic perspective, it is an important addition to the evidence, and we look forward to seeing how greater uptake impacts patients in other ambulance trusts.”
The drug methoxyflurane, dubbed the ‘green whistle’, has already proven to be a convenient and effective option for pain relief, leading to patients spending less time in hospital emergency departments.
Although it is used regularly in UK hospitals, it is not widely used in ambulances.
Data from the MAPIT study, shared today at an emergency care convention, states that it offers paramedics and technicians another first-line treatment option for their trauma patients which can reduce the amount of time patients spend in severe pain.
As a single-use product that does not require canisters, additional breathing masks or tubes and is disposed of after use via a sealable plastic bag, the drug also minimises the potential of inadvertently spreading infection at the scene of an incident or in an ambulance.
Treatment during the first hour after a traumatic incident is vital to improve patient survival and good pain relief can mean easier management of the injury and increased potential to avoid chronic pain later in life.
Dr Leon Roberts, medical director of EMAS NHS Trust, said: ““Rapid and effective pain relief is undeniably important in the pre-hospital setting and this study showed that emergency care staff have access to a well-tolerated treatment, which is easy to administer.
“EMAS is proud to be a leading organisation in pre-hospital research collaborating with key partners such as the University of Lincoln, who has analysed and evaluated this data.”