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    Mar 20, 2014

    Paramedics to pack new pain-relief punch

    THE injured can get pain relief earlier when a trial to administer drugs at the site of an accident begins.

    Patients used to have to wait to be moved to an ambulance to get pain relief. This means bearing with the pain for "quite some time", said Lieutenant-Colonel Ng Yih Yng of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

    The trial involves two drugs: Penthrox, which is breathed in using an inhaler, and Tramadol, which is injected into the bloodstream.

    These drugs come in portable packages that are easy to carry to accident scenes. This will be a change from the use of nitrous oxide gas, which comes in bulky 8kg cylinders.

    "We rarely take them out of the ambulance, because we're already carrying so much equipment," said Dr Ng. Typically, a paramedic would have 15-20kg of trauma equipment on him.

    The Singapore General Hospital and SCDF are working on the year-long trial, which will involve studying data from 400 limb injury cases. To test the drugs' effectiveness, patients will be asked to rate their pain at five-minute intervals.

    The plan is to phase out the use of nitrous oxide gas.