What is the role of anti-inflammatory and antiemetic agents in the management of biliary colic and acute cholecystitis?

Updated: Jan 18, 2017
  • Author: Peter A D Steel, MBBS, MA; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

Answer

Anti-inflammatory medications such as ketorolac or indomethacin have been reported to be effective in relieving pain from gallbladder distention. Because the release of prostaglandins results in gallbladder distention, inhibition of these prostaglandins may help alleviate some of the symptoms. However, these agents may not be as effective when biliary colic is complicated by infection.

In a study that evaluated the effectiveness of oral analgesics on biliary colic pain and explored the prescribing habits of community doctors, Johnson et al that little evidence exists for the extensive range of medications prescribed. [28] Of the available data, the investigators noted that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories were the most effective for severe pain.

Antiemetics such as metoclopramide or prochlorperazine can also be used.


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