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Rofecoxib and Bupivacaine to Prevent Pain After Third Molar (Wisdom Tooth) Extraction

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00050362
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : December 5, 2002
Last Update Posted : March 4, 2008
Information provided by:
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)

Brief Summary:

This study will evaluate the ability of the drugs rofecoxib and bupivacaine to prevent pain following third molar (wisdom tooth) extraction. Rofecoxib is approved to treat pain of arthritis and menstrual cramps. Bupivacaine is a local anesthetic similar to lidocaine, but longer acting.

Healthy normal volunteers between 16 and 35 years of age who are in general good health and require extraction of their two lower wisdom teeth may be eligible for this study.

Participants will have their two lower wisdom teeth extracted, and a biopsy (removal of a small piece of tissue) will be taken from the inside of the cheek around the area behind one of the extraction sites. Ninety minutes before surgery, patients will take a dose of either rofecoxib, or a placebo (a pill with no active ingredient) by mouth. Just before surgery, they will receive an injection of either lidocaine or bupivacaine to numb the mouth and a sedative called midazolam (Versed® (Registered Trademark)) through an arm vein to cause drowsiness. After surgery, a small piece of tubing will be placed into one of the two extraction sites. Samples will be collected from the tubing to measure chemicals involved in pain and inflammation.

Patients will remain in the clinic for up to 4 hours after surgery to monitor pain and drug side effects while the anesthetic wears off. During this time, they will complete pain questionnaires every 20 minutes. (Patients whose pain is unrelieved an hour after surgery may request and receive acetaminophen (Tylenol) and codeine.) The tubing then will be removed and they will be discharged with pain medicines (Tylenol, codeine and the study drug) and forms to record pain ratings. They will be given detailed instructions on how and when to take the medicines and how to record information in the pain diary.

Patients will return to the clinic 48 hours after surgery with the pain diary and pain relievers. At this visit, another biopsy will be taken under local anesthetic (lidocaine).

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Pain Tooth Extraction Drug: Rofecoxib and Bupivacaine Phase 2

Detailed Description:

Central sensitization refers to persistent post-injury changes in the central nervous system resulting in greater pain sensitivity. The concept of preemptive analgesia is defined as a treatment that prevents establishment of central sensitization by providing analgesic coverage during the perioperative period of surgery. Previous acute pain studies using the oral surgery model have shown that suppression of postoperative pain, not intra-operative nociceptive barrage, diminishes the development of sensitization at 24 to 48 hours post-surgery. During the intermediate postoperative period, the nociceptive input from both surgical insult and inflammation leads to central sensitization, yet their relative contributions have not been clearly evaluated. The proposed study is designed to evaluate the relative impact of surgical insult and the subsequent inflammation on postoperative pain. The relative contribution of each of these nociceptive processes provides a basis for postoperative pain management and the development of preemptive strategies.

All subjects (N = 136) will be healthy volunteers scheduled for third molar extractions. Using a double-blinded, randomized, parallel study design, subjects will be randomized into four groups. All patients will receive local anesthesia injections preoperatively (either 2% lidocaine or 0.5% bupivacaine) to manage surgical pain in conjunction with a preemptive medication (either 50 mg of rofecoxib or placebo) to control postoperative inflammation. The first dose of preemptive medication will be taken by mouth 90 minutes prior to conscious sedation and extractions, and later self-administered once a day for the next 48 hours. The analgesic effect of the drugs will be assessed in the clinic every 20 minutes for the first four hours after extractions, and then self-assessed at 24, and 48 hours after surgery using two pain intensity assessment instruments: category scale and visual analog scale (VAS). Microdialysis will be performed with sample collection concurrent with pain report over the immediate postoperative period of four hours. Two biopsies will be performed: preoperatively, and postoperatively at 48 hours. The combination regimen with bupivacaine and rofecoxib is predicted to maximally suppress the onset and intensity of postoperative dental pain to a greater extent than all other groups through a blockade of the nociceptive input from both surgery and inflammation. It is hypothesized that this preemptive treatment will maximally inhibit the development of central sensitization following tissue injury which manifests as hyperalgesia at later time points. It is also hypothesized that the administration of rofecoxib (a cyclooxygenase-2 selective anti-inflammatory medication) will reduce post-surgical pain experienced at later time points to a greater extent than suppression of the intra-operative nociceptive barrage alone (by bupivacaine), suggesting that suppression of inflammation plays a more pivotal role than attenuating nociception due to tissue injury in diminishing central sensitization.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Enrollment : 136 participants
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Evaluation of a Long-Acting Local Anesthesia (Bupivacaine) and a Selective COX-2 Inhibitor (Rofecoxib) in Suppression of Central Sensitization
Study Start Date : December 2002
Study Completion Date : October 2004

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   Child, Adult, Older Adult
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No


Male or female volunteers referred for third molar extraction willing to undergo 3 visits: 1 screening visit, 1 surgical appointment, and 1 follow-up research-related appointment.

Between the ages of 16-35 years (based upon eruption patterns and age-related complications associated with surgical extraction of third molars).

In general good health-American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) status I or II (healthy subjects based upon criteria for safe administration of out-patient conscious sedation).

Willing to undergo observation period for four hours postoperatively.

Willing to complete a 100 mm visual analog scale and a category scale every 20 minutes for the first 4 postoperative hours, and later at 24 and 48 hours.

Willing to have a microdialysis probe placed beneath the surgical flap over the first 4 hours post-surgery.

Willing to have a preoperative biopsy on the day of surgery and a postoperative biopsy at 48 hours.

Willing to return 48 hours post-operation to turn in completed pain diaries and for the postoperative biopsy.

Must have two lower partial (rating&eq;3) or fully impacted (rating&eq;4) wisdom teeth (mandibular third molars).

As assessed at the screening visit, the sum of the mandibular third molar surgical difficulty ratings must be between 6 to 8 in order to evaluate subjects experiencing similar pain levels.


Allergy to aspirin, NSAIDs, or sulfites, amide anesthetics.

Pregnant or lactating females.

History of peptic ulcers and/or GI bleeding.

Chronic use of medications confounding the assessment of the inflammatory response or analgesia, for example, NSAIDS, COX-2 inhibitors, antihistamines, steroids, antidepressants.

Presence of a clinical sign suggestive of infection, inflammation or pre-existing pain.

Unusual surgical difficulty (determined from panoramic radiograph or during the actual surgery.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00050362

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United States, Maryland
National Institute of Dental And Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Layout table for additonal information Identifier: NCT00050362    
Other Study ID Numbers: 030055
First Posted: December 5, 2002    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: March 4, 2008
Last Verified: October 2004
Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Oral Surgery
Preemptive Analgesia
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Anesthetics, Local
Central Nervous System Depressants
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Sensory System Agents
Peripheral Nervous System Agents
Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
Enzyme Inhibitors
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Antirheumatic Agents