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Increased vitamin C intake may reduce postoperative pain

February 18, 2015

According to a new review a vitamin C supplementation before, during and after operation may reduce the risk of developing a complex regional pain syndrome. 

The systematic review included data of 13 studies investigating a potential effect of vitamin C supplementation before, during and after operation (perioperative) on postoperative pain and the development of complex regional pain syndrome I (CRPS I) in patients undergoing surgical procedures (1). The data analysis showed that there is moderate level evidence supporting the use of a 2 g preoperative dose of vitamin C as an adjunct for reducing postoperative morphine consumption, and a high level evidence supporting perioperative vitamin C supplementation of 1 g per day for 50 days for CRPS I prevention after extremity surgery.

The scientists noted that the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends the use of vitamin C to prevent complex regional pain syndrome for patients with distal radius fractures (2). Postoperative pain can contribute to increased risk for complications and lengthened hospital stays. Additional studies are necessary to increase the level of evidence to determine the overall effectiveness and optimum dosage of vitamin C.