Clonidine and analgesic duration after popliteal fossa nerve blockade: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study

Jacques T YaDeau, Vincent R LaSala, Leonardo Paroli, Richard L Kahn, Kethy M Jules-Elysée, David S Levine, Barbara L Wukovits, Jane Y Lipnitsky
Anesthesia and Analgesia 2008, 106 (6): 1916-20

BACKGROUND: We tested the hypothesis that 100 microg clonidine added to 0.375% bupivacaine would prolong the duration of analgesia from popliteal fossa nerve blockade.

METHODS: Ninety-nine patients scheduled for hospital admission after foot or ankle surgery entered this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Patients received a popliteal fossa block (nerve stimulator technique, via the posterior approach) using 30 mL 0.375% bupivacaine, with epinephrine. Patients were randomized to receive no clonidine, 100 microg clonidine IM, or 100 microg clonidine with bupivacaine for the popliteal block. Patients also received a combined spinal-epidural anesthetic, a saphenous nerve block, and postoperative IV patient-controlled analgesia. The primary outcome was patient-reported duration of analgesia.

RESULTS: Duration of analgesia was statistically longer in the block clonidine group (18 +/- 6 h for clonidine with bupivacaine vs 14 +/- 7 h for IM clonidine and 15 +/- 7 h for control, P = 0.016 for control vs clonidine with bupivacaine). Pain scores, analgesic use, and side effects attributable to pain management were similar among groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Clonidine significantly prolongs the analgesic duration after popliteal fossa nerve blockade with bupivacaine.

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