Intussusception Medication

Updated: Nov 07, 2023
  • Author: A Alfred Chahine, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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Medication Summary

Drug therapy is not currently a component of the standard of care for intussusception. Medications are limited to those used for pain control after surgery. In the immediate postoperative period, weight-adjusted intravenous morphine is usually administered. As the oral diet is resumed, acetaminophen with codeine or ibuprofen is given orally.

Patients with HSP or hemophilia and intussusception require standard therapy for the individual disease. Some investigators have advocated the use of steroids in intussusception secondary to HSP and lymphoid hyperplasia, with varied results.

A Cochrane review reported that as an adjuvant therapy to reduce recurrence rates, dexamethasone may be more effective following air or liquid enema. However, these results were based on a few small studies, and further research is necessary. [36]



Opioid Analgesics

Class Summary

Opioid analgesics are used to control acute crisis and chronic pain.

Morphine (Astramorph, Depodur, Duramorph)

An opioid analgesic, morphine interacts with endorphin receptors in the CNS.

Codeine/acetaminophen (Tylenol #3, Tylenol #4, Tylenol with Codeine)

This is a mild narcotic analgesic. Provide the family with a small supply for use when pain severity is greater than what can be managed with acetaminophen alone. Counsel parents to use only for severe pain, not as the first medication for each symptom.


Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Class Summary

These agents add to the effects of opioids during painful crises and allow use of lower doses of narcotics.

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)

Ibuprofen is usually the drug of choice for the treatment of mild to moderate pain, if no contraindications exist. It inhibits inflammatory reactions and pain by decreasing the activity of the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase, resulting in inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis.