About the study

The Randomised Evaluation of early topical Lidocaine patches in Elderly patients admitted to hospital with rib Fractures (RELIEF): feasibility trial.

Please note that recruitment to the RELIEF feasibility trial is now complete

Background and study aims 

We know that pain from broken ribs can be severe. Currently, to control the pain, strong pain killers, like morphine, are often used. These can cause side-effects like constipation and confusion in older people. We have identified that a patch containing a numbing medication (anaesthetic) called lidocaine, put on the skin over the broken ribs very soon after injury, may help to control pain and improve breathing with fewer side effects. Older people are likely to benefit most from these patches but there is no research to support this.

In this small study we hope to find out whether a larger study could work by seeing how many patients are willing to take part and whether the information we collect is complete. We will also see if patients get chest infections or medication side-effects in the 30-days after injury, to see whether the patches could help.

Who can take part (participate)?

We are looking for about 100 older people (aged 65 years or older) in the Emergency Department, who are found to have broken ribs, and who need admission to a hospital ward.

What does the study involve?

  • For more information about the study and taking part, please view the relevant Information Sheets and further details, “here”.
  • You can also see which sites (hospitals) are taking part in the study, “here”.

When did the study start and how long is it expected to run for?

The study started in January 2020 and is expected to last until end of March 2023 (subject to change).

Who is the main contact?

Contact information for the Central Study Office (Team) can be found, “here”.