Determination of the minimum local analgesic concentrations of epidural bupivacaine and lidocaine in labor

M O Columb, G Lyons
Anesthesia and Analgesia 1995, 81 (4): 833-7
The aim of this study was to devise a clinical model to determine the effective concentrations in 50% of patients (EC50) for bupivacaine and lidocaine in the first stage of labor and define EC50 as the minimum local analgesic concentration (MLAC). This should allow the determination of relative analgesic potency and, subsequently, the local anesthetic sparing efficacy of other epidural analgesics. Parturients not exceeding 5 cm cervical dilation who requested epidural analgesia were enrolled. The two studies involved 81 women (bupivacaine n = 41, lidocaine n = 40). After a lumbar epidural catheter was placed, 20 mL of the concentration of local anesthetic being tested was given. The concentration was determined by the response of the previous patient to a higher or lower concentration using double-blinded, up-down sequential allocation. Efficacy was assessed using 100-mm visual analog pain scores with less than 10 mm within 1 h defined as effective. MLAC was determined using the formula of Dixon and Massey. Results show MLAC bupivacaine 0.065% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.045-0.085), MLAC lidocaine 0.37% (95% CI 0.32-0.42), equivalent to 2 and 14 mmol solutions, respectively. Thus bupivacaine was 5.7 times more potent than lidocaine in weighted and 7 times more potent in molar ratios at analgesic EC50, in the volume of local anesthetic studied.

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