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The analgesic effect of epidural clonidine after spinal surgery: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.

Author(s): Farmery AD, Wilson-MacDonald J

Affiliation(s): Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK. andrew.farmery@nda.ox.ac.uk

Publication date & source: 2009-02, Anesth Analg., 108(2):631-4.

BACKGROUND: Clonidine is an alpha(2) adrenoreceptor and imidazoline receptor agonist, which has analgesic, sedative, and minimum alveolar anesthetic concentration-sparing effects. It has been used orally, IV, and epidurally. In spinal surgery, there is a reluctance to use local anesthetic-based epidural analgesia postoperatively because of fears of masking important signs of nerve root or spinal cord injury. METHODS: We randomized 66 patients undergoing uncomplicated decompressive spinal surgery to receive an epidural infusion of either clonidine (Group C) or saline placebo (Group P) postoperatively. Morphine consumption by patient-controlled analgesia device was recorded for 36 h. RESULTS: Morphine consumption was significantly lower in Group C. The mean consumption at 36 h was 35 mg (95% confidence interval 21-50 mg) in Group C, compared with 61 mg (95% confidence interval 48-74 mg) in the control group. Nausea was significantly reduced in Group C (6.5%), when compared with placebo (38.2%). CONCLUSION: Low-dose epidural clonidine significantly reduced the demand for morphine and reduced postoperative nausea with few side effects.

Page last updated: 2009-02-08

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