UNLABELLED Non-opioid analgesics have become increasingly popular as part of a multimodal regimen for pain management in the ambulatory setting. We designed this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the effect of perioperative administration of the cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor rofecoxib on patient outcome after inguinal herniorrhaphy procedures. Sixty consenting outpatients undergoing elective hernia repair surgery were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups: control (vitamin C, 500 mg) or rofecoxib (rofecoxib, 50 mg). The first oral dose of the study medication was administered 30-40 min before entering the operating room, and a second dose of the same medication was given on the morning of the first postoperative day. Recovery times, postoperative pain scores, the need for "rescue" analgesics, and side effects were recorded at 1- to 10-min intervals before discharge from the recovery room. Follow-up evaluations were performed at 36 h, 7 days, and 14 days after surgery to assess postdischarge pain, analgesic requirements, resumption of normal activities, as well as patient satisfaction with their postoperative pain management. Rofecoxib significantly decreased the early recovery times, leading to an earlier discharge home after surgery (88 +/- 30 vs 126 +/- 44 min, P < 0.05). When compared with the control group, the patients' median [range] quality of recovery score was also significantly higher in the rofecoxib group (18 [14-18] vs 16 [13-18], P < 0.05). In the predischarge period, a significantly larger percentage of patients required rescue pain medications in the control group (67% vs 37% in the rofecoxib group, P < 0.05). At the 36-h follow-up assessment, rofecoxib-treated patients reported significantly reduced oral analgesic requirements (0 [0-20] vs 9 [1-33] pills, P < 0.05) and lower maximal pain scores, resulting in improved patient satisfaction with their postoperative pain management (3 [1-4] vs 2 [0-3], P < 0.05). However, there were no differences in the times required to resume their activities of daily living. In conclusion, perioperative rofecoxib, 50 mg per os, significantly decreased postoperative pain and the need for analgesic rescue medication, leading to a faster and improved quality of recovery after outpatient hernia surgery. However, perioperative use of rofecoxib failed to improve recovery end points in the postdischarge period. IMPLICATIONS Rofecoxib (50 mg per os), given before and after surgery, was effective in improving postoperative pain management, as well as the speed and quality of recovery after outpatient inguinal herniorrhaphy. However, it failed to accelerate the postdischarge resumption of normal activities of daily living.