Lightning Injuries Medication

Updated: Sep 17, 2021
  • Author: Mary Ann Cooper, MD; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Medication Summary

In an individual who has been struck by lightning, the use of NSAIDs for the first few days may decrease inflammatory sequelae.

Ibuprofen, vitamin C (1 g/day), and vitamin E (400 U/day) have been used to prevent long-term injury and scarring with electrical injury. Whether these free-radical scavengers have any effect on lightning injuries is unknown.

No controlled studies have been performed to show whether there is any efficacy of steroids for lightning injuries.

For chronic pain management, other drugs may be added, including acetaminophen, narcotics, tricyclic antidepressants, SSRIs, gabapentin, and other drugs as appropriate for relieving and managing the pain.


Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Class Summary

These are used as prophylaxis to prevent long-term neurologic damage and to treat chronic pain syndromes that may develop from sympathetic nervous system injuries caused by lightning.

Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Ibu, Neoprofen)

Ibuprofen inhibits inflammatory reactions and pain, probably by decreasing the activity of the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase, which results in prostaglandin synthesis.

Naproxen (Anaprox, Aleve, Naprosyn, Naprelan)

Naproxen is used for the relief of mild to moderate pain. It inhibits inflammatory reactions and pain by decreasing the activity of the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase, which results in prostaglandin synthesis.

Sulindac (Clinoril)

Sulindac decreases cyclo-oxygenase activity and, in turn, inhibits prostaglandin synthesis. This results in decreased formation of inflammatory mediators.

Meloxicam (Mobic)

Meloxicam decreases cyclo-oxygenase activity, and this, in turn, inhibits prostaglandin synthesis. These effects decrease the formation of inflammatory mediators.


Ketoprofen is used for relief of mild to moderate pain and inflammation. Small dosages are indicated initially in small patients, elderly patients, and patients with renal or liver disease. Doses greater than 75 mg do not increase the therapeutic effects. Administer high doses with caution, and closely observe the patient's response.


Flurbiprofen may inhibit cyclo-oxygenase, thereby, in turn, inhibiting prostaglandin biosynthesis. These effects may result in analgesic, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory activities.