Author(s): Buvanendran A, Kroin JS
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Abstract Adjuvants are compounds which by themselves have undesirable side-effects or low potency but in combination with opioids allow a reduction of narcotic dosing for postoperative pain control. Adjuvants are needed for postoperative pain management due to side-effects of opioid analgesics, which hinder recovery, especially in the increasingly utilized ambulatory surgical procedures. NMDA antagonists have psychomimetic side-effects at high doses, but at moderate doses do not cause stereotypic behavior but allow reduction in opioid dose to obtain better pain control. Alpha-2 adrenergic agonists cause sedation, hypotension and bradycardia at moderate doses, but at low doses can be opioid sparing especially in spinal administration. Gabapentin-like compounds have low potency against acute pain, but in combination with opioids allow a reduction in opioid dose with improved analgesia. Corticosteroids may have only a limited role as adjuvants while acetylcholine esterase inhibitors may have too many side-effects. Newer adjuvants will be needed to reduce opioid dose and concomitant side-effects, even more as same day surgeries become more routine.
This article was published in Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol
and referenced in Journal of Anesthesia & Clinical Research