Analgesic and antiemetic effect of ketorolac vs. betamethasone or dexamethasone after ambulatory surgery

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Abstract

Background

Glucocorticoids are known to provide slower onset and more prolonged duration of analgesic effect than ketorolac. In the present study, we wanted to evaluate the effect over time from a single dose of either intravenous (i.v.) dexamethasone or an intramuscular (i.m.) depot formulation of betamethasone compared with i.v. ketorolac.

Materials and methods

One hundred and seventy-nine patients admitted for mixed ambulatory surgery were included in the study. After induction of general i.v. anaesthesia, the patients were randomized to receive double-blindly either dexamethasone 4 mg i.v. (Group D) or betamethasone depot formulation 12 mg i.m. (Group B) or ketorolac 30 mg i.v. (Group K). Fentanyl was used for rescue analgesic medication in the post-operative care unit (PACU) and codeine with paracetamol after discharge, for a study period of 3 days.

Results

There was significantly less post-operative pain in the ketorolac group during the stay in the unit (88% with minor or less pain in Group K vs. 74% and 67% in Groups D and B, respectively, P< 0.05), significantly less need for rescue medication (P< 0.05) and significantly less nausea or vomiting (12% in Group K vs. 30% in the other groups pooled, P< 0.05). The ketorolac patients were significantly faster for ready discharge, median 165 min vs. 192 min and 203 min in Groups D and B, respectively (P< 0.01). There were no differences between the groups in perceived pain, nausea, vomiting or rescue analgesic consumption in the 4- to 72-h period.

Conclusion

Dexamethasone 4 mg or bethamethasone 12 mg did not provide prolonged post-operative analgesic effect compared with ketorolac 30 mg, which was superior for analgesia and antiemesis in the PACU.

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