Original Article | Open Access
Ultra Low-Dose Naloxone and Tramadol/Acetaminophen in Elderly Patients Undergoing Joint Replacement Surgery: A Pilot Study
OBJECTIVE: A pilot study was conducted to assess whether both the rationale and feasibility exist for future randomized clinical trials to evaluate the combined use of naloxone infusion and tramadol/acetaminophen as opioid-sparing drugs in elderly patients undergoing lower extremity joint replacement surgery.DESIGN: Ten patients 70 years of age or older undergoing either total knee (n=7) or total hip (n=3) arthroplasty were treated prospectively. Each patient received two tablets of tramadol/acetaminophen (Tramacet; Janssen-Ortho Inc, Canada) preoperatively and every 6 h postoperatively, as well as a naloxone infusion started preoperatively at 0.25 μg/kg/h and continued up to 48 h postoperatively. In addition, standard intraoperative care was provided with 0.2 mg of intrathecal morphine, 1.4 mL of 0.75% bupivacaine, and an intra-articular infiltration of 100 mL of 0.3% ropivacaine and 30 mg of ketorolac, as well as standard postoperative morphine via patient-controlled analgesia orders and celecoxib 200 mg twice daily for five days.OUTCOME MEASURES: Compared with seven historical controls, also 70 years of age or older, who had undergone either a total knee (n=4) or total hip (n=3) arthroplasty, postoperative opioid use was reduced by 80%. Except for transient nausea and vomiting in 40% and 20% of patients, respectively, the 10 patients on tramadol/acetaminophen and naloxone tolerated the new regimen without difficulty.CONCLUSION: Consequently, a randomized, double-blinded clinical trial comparing standard therapy versus standard therapy plus these two drugs seems warranted. In such a trial, it would require approximately 20 subjects per treatment arm to detect a 80% decrease in morphine use.
Copyright © 2009 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.