Opioid Analgesic Reduction Study (OARS)

A bottle of ibuprofen, a bottle of acetaminophen, and a watch

The Oral Surgery Department of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry is one of five dental schools participating in research on the combination of ibuprofen and acetaminophen as an alternative to opioids. Gary Warburton, DDS, MD, Chairman and Clinical Professor of the department, is the Principal Investigator of the Opioid Analgesic Reduction Study (OARS).

As the lead site, Rutgers School of Dental Medicine was awarded the $11.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The study is also conducted in dental school clinics at the University of Illinois, the University of Michigan, and the University of Rochester.

Although smaller, shorter-term studies indicate that combining ibuprofen and acetaminophen can treat acute pain as effectively as opioids, the OARS study will involve 1,800 subjects.

Study participants are dental school patients prescribed analgesics after third molar extractions (wisdom teeth). Half of the patients receive a compound of acetaminophen and hydrocodone, known as Vicodin, while others will be treated with acetaminophen and ibuprofen taken together at the same time.

Preliminary studies have shown that patients who received acetaminophen and ibuprofen were able to control their pain, but received fewer side effects than opioids. The goal is to provide enough evidence for practitioners to be confident in prescribing non-opioids over opioids.

This innovative study is completely electronic and designed to mimic customary oral surgery practices, which has not been observed in previous research.

  • Participants submit surveys of their level of pain through text messaging
  • Self-dosages of the medication are logged by the use of electronic bottles
  • A small activity tracker watch is worn to record sleep and wakefulness
  • Participants are reimbursed $125.00 for their participation

More Information

For more information on the research or how to enroll please contact:

Jane Phillips, RDH, MS at 410-706-4678


Or visit in the Dental School at Room 1109-C at the Oral Surgery reception area.