JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Oral clonidine premedication enhances postoperative analgesia by epidural morphine

T Goyagi, M Tanaka, T Nishikawa
Anesthesia and Analgesia 1999, 89 (6): 1487-91
10589634

UNLABELLED: This study was designed to evaluate the effects of oral clonidine premedication on postoperative analgesia by epidural morphine in a prospective, randomized, double-blinded design. Sixty consenting patients, scheduled for total abdominal hysterectomy, were randomly assigned to one of three groups (n = 20 each); the clonidine-morphine group received oral clonidine 5 microg/kg 90 min before arriving in the operating room and epidural morphine 2 mg before induction of general anesthesia, the clonidine-placebo group received oral clonidine 5 microg/kg and no epidural morphine, and the placebo-morphine group received no clonidine and epidural morphine 2 mg. An epidural catheter was placed at the L1-2 or L2-3 interspace, and 1.5% lidocaine was used for surgical anesthesia in all patients. General anesthesia was then induced with propofol, and maintained with a continuous infusion of propofol and 67% nitrous oxide in oxygen during surgery. Four patients were subsequently withdrawn from the study. After surgery, patient-controlled analgesia using IV morphine was used to assess analgesic requirement. Morphine consumptions determined every 6 h after surgery in the clonidine-morphine and placebo-morphine groups were significantly less than the clonidine-placebo group until 12 h after surgery, whereas those of the clonidine-morphine group were significantly less than the placebo-morphine group from 13 to 42 h after surgery. Visual analog (pain) scale (VAS) scores in the clonidine-morphine group were significantly lower than the placebo-morphine group at 48 h at rest, and at 1, 24, 36, and 48 h with movement. Similarly, VAS scores in the clonidine-morphine group were significantly lower than the clonidine-placebo group at 1 and 6 h both at rest and with movement, whereas VAS scores in the clonidine-placebo group were significantly lower than the placebo-morphine group at 24, 36, and 48 h at rest and with movement. The incidence of nausea and pruritus was similar between groups. We conclude that the combination of oral clonidine and epidural morphine produces more potent and longer lasting postoperative analgesia than either drug alone without increasing the incidence of adverse effects after major gynecologic surgeries.

IMPLICATIONS: A small dose of epidural morphine is often used for postoperative analgesia. We found that oral clonidine premedication 5 microg/kg improves the analgesic efficacy of epidural morphine without increasing the incidence of adverse side effects.

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