Brachial Plexus Injury in Sports Medicine Medication

Updated: Oct 31, 2022
  • Author: Thomas H Trojian, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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Medication Summary

The goals of pharmacotherapy are to reduce morbidity and prevent complications. Drugs containing opiates, such as codeine, are typically used immediately following the injury. Antidepressant and anticonvulsant medications may also be useful. A device called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) sometimes provides relief in conjunction with pharmacotherapy.



Class Summary

Analgesia is important to obtain in the setting of brachial plexus nerve injuries. This can be accomplished by use of anti-inflammatory and/or opiate-narcotic medications. Analgesia may facilitate further assessment of the athlete, as well as their willingness to participate in therapy sessions.

Hydrocodone and acetaminophen (Lortab, Norcet, Vicodin)

Drug combination indicated for moderate to severe pain.

Hydrocodone and ibuprofen (Vicoprofen)

Drug combination indicated for short-term (less than 10 d) relief of moderate to severe acute pain

Oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet, Roxilox, Tylox)

Drug combination indicated for the relief of moderate to severe pain.


Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Class Summary

Have analgesic and antiinflammatory activities. Their mechanism of action is not known, but they may inhibit cyclo-oxygenase activity and prostaglandin synthesis. Other mechanisms may exist as well, such as inhibition of leukotriene synthesis, lysosomal enzyme release, lipoxygenase activity, neutrophil aggregation, and various cell-membrane functions.

Ibuprofen (Motrin, Ibuprin)

DOC for patients with mild to moderate pain. Inhibits inflammatory reactions and pain by decreasing prostaglandin synthesis.

Ketoprofen (Oruvail, Orudis, Actron)

For relief of mild to moderate pain and inflammation. Small dosages initially are indicated in small and elderly patients and in those with renal or liver disease. Doses over 75 mg do not increase therapeutic effects. Administer high doses with caution and closely observe patient for response.

Naproxen (Naprosyn, Naprelan, Anaprox)

For relief of mild to moderate pain; inhibits inflammatory reactions and pain by decreasing activity of cyclo-oxygenase, which results in a decrease of prostaglandin synthesis.