Aspirin (single dose) for perineal pain in the early postpartum period.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 02 09; 2:CD012129.CD
Perineal trauma (due to spontaneous tears, surgical incision (episiotomy) or in association with operative vaginal birth) is common after vaginal birth, and is often associated with postpartum perineal pain. Birth over an intact perineum may also lead to perineal pain. There are adverse health consequences associated with perineal pain for the women and their babies in the short- and long-term, and the pain may interfere with newborn care and the establishment of breastfeeding. Aspirin has been used in the management of postpartum perineal pain and its effectiveness and safety should be assessed.
To determine the efficacy of a single dose of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), including at different doses, in the relief of acute postpartum perineal pain.
We searched Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth's Trials Register (30 August 2016), ClinicalTrials.gov, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) (31 May 2016) and reference lists of retrieved studies.
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) assessing single dose aspirin compared with placebo, no treatment, a different dose of aspirin, or single dose paracetamol/acetaminophen for women with perineal pain in the early postpartum period. We planned to include cluster-RCTs but none were identified. Quasi-RCTs and cross-over studies were not eligible for inclusion in this review.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Two review authors independently assessed study eligibility, extracted data and assessed the risk of bias of the included RCTs. Data were checked for accuracy. The quality of the evidence for the main comparison (aspirin versus placebo) was assessed using the GRADE approach.
We included 17 RCTs, with 16 involving 1132 women randomised to aspirin or placebo (one RCT did not report numbers of women). Two RCTs (of 16) did not contribute data to review meta-analyses. All women had perineal pain post-episiotomy, and were not breastfeeding. Studies were published between 1967 and 1997, and the risk of bias was often unclear due to poor reporting.We included four comparisons: aspirin versus placebo (data from 15 RCTs); 300 mg versus 600 mg aspirin (1 RCT); 600 mg versus 1200 mg aspirin (2 RCTs); and 300 mg versus 1200 mg aspirin (1 RCT). Primary outcomes Aspirin versus placeboMore women who received aspirin experienced adequate pain relief compared with women who received placebo over four to eight hours after administration (risk ratio (RR) 2.03, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.69 to 2.42; 13 RCTs, 1001 women; low-quality evidence). Women who received aspirin were less likely to need additional pain relief over four to eight hours after administration (RR 0.25, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.37; 10 RCTs, 744 women; very low-quality evidence). There was no difference in maternal adverse effects over four to eight hours post-administration (RR 1.08, 95% CI 0.57 to 2.06; 14 RCTs, 1067 women; very low-quality evidence). Subgroup analyses based on dose did not reveal any clear subgroup differences.There was no clear difference over four hours after administration between 300 mg and 600 mg aspirin for adequate pain relief (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.36 to 1.86; 1 RCT, 81 women) or need for additional pain relief (RR 0.68, 95% CI 0.12 to 3.88; 1 RCT, 81 women). There were no maternal adverse effects in either aspirin group.There was no clear difference over four to eight hours after administration between 600 mg and 1200 mg aspirin for adequate pain relief (RR 0.85, 95% CI 0.52 to 1.39; 2 RCTs, 121 women), need for additional pain relief (RR 1.32, 95% CI 0.30 to 5.68; 2 RCTs, 121 women), or maternal adverse effects (RR 3.00, 95% CI 0.13 to 69.52; 2 RCTs, 121 women).There was no clear difference over four hours after administration between 300 mg and 1200 mg aspirin for adequate pain relief (RR 0.62, 95% CI 0.29 to 1.32; 1 RCT, 80 women) or need for additional pain relief (RR 2.00, 95% CI 0.19 to 21.18; 1 RCT, 80 women). There were no maternal adverse effects in either aspirin group.None of the included RCTs reported on neonatal adverse effects. Secondary outcomesNo studies reported on secondary review outcomes: prolonged hospitalisation due to perineal pain; re-hospitalisation due to perineal pain; fully breastfeeding at discharge; mixed feeding at discharge; fully breastfeeding at six weeks; mixed feeding at six weeks; perineal pain at six weeks; maternal views; maternal postpartum depression.