Systemic Piroxicam as an Adjunct to Combined Epidural Bupivacaine and Morphine for Postoperative Pain Relief-A Double-Blind Study

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In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, we assessed the value of adding rectal piroxicam to a low-dose epidural regimen for postoperative pain relief. Forty-four patients scheduled for major upper abdominal surgery during combined thoracic epidural (bupivacaine + morphine) and general anesthesia were studied. Postoperative analgesia was achieved by using epidural bupivacaine (10 mg/h) plus morphine (0.2 mg/h) for 72 h. In addition, the patients randomly received a placebo or rectal piroxicam (40 mg 12 h before surgery, 20 mg with premedication, and 20 mg every 24 h for 72 h). Pain was evaluated every 4 h at rest, during coughing on demand, and during mobilization. The sensory level of analgesia was evaluated by pinprick. We found no significant difference between piroxicam and placebo with regard to postoperative pain scores or need for supplementary analgesics. Thus, we were unable to demonstrate enhanced analgesia by adding piroxicam to an otherwise very effective low-dose epidural bupivacaine and morphine treatment after upper abdominal surgery.

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