Effects of Different Epidural Analgesic Compositions on Postoperative Pain Relief and Systemic Response to Surgery

Iveta Golubovska, Peteris Studers, Inta Jaunalksne, Indulis Vanags

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Despite many achievements during the last decade, postoperative pain remains the dominant complaint after major surgery and has great potential to be influenced by the anaesthesiologist. Reports suggest that short-term effective anaesthesia and analgesia can have long-lasting beneficial effects on recovery from surgery. The aim of our study is to compare the effect of epidural analgesia, using different compositions, including glucocorticoids (methylprednisolone), and habitual composition of bupivacaine-morphine, in regard to analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. A total of 129 patients participated in the study in four different treatment groups: patients from Group I received glucocorticoid methylprednisolone succinate and long-acting opioid morphine hydrochloride, Group II received local anaesthetic bupivacaine hydrochloride and morphine hydrochloride, Group III received methylprednisolone succinate and short-acting opioid fentanyl, and Group IV received glucocorticoid methylprednisolone succinate. We obtained good analgesic profiles in all groups. However, significantly better results were achieved using the combination of methylprednisolone and morphine. Epidural methylprednisolone in dose 80 mg/24 h is more effective, compared to the conventional local anaesthetics-opioid composition, when administered as a part of multimodal preventive postoperative analgesia after major joint replacement surgery. Epidural methylprednisolone has a reliable anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory potential. It attenuates profiles of acute inflammatory response markers as Interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein and stress hormone cortisol. The novelty of this study was application of epidural glucocorticoids for acute postoperative pain relief as part of daily perioperative care. By developing studies on anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties of glucocorticoids, we expect to improve patient rehabilitation in the postoperative period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-188
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, Section B: Natural, Exact, and Applied Sciences
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


  • epidural
  • glucocorticoids
  • methylprednisolone
  • postoperative analgesia

Field of Science*

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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