Clonidine used as a perineural adjuvant to ropivacaine, does not prolong the duration of sensory block when controlling for systemic effects: A paired, blinded, randomized trial in healthy volunteers

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Jakob Hessel Andersen, Pia Jaeger, Tobias Laier Sonne, Jørgen Berg Dahl, Ole Mathiesen, Ulrik Grevstad

BACKGROUND: Clonidine used as an adjuvant to ropivacaine have been shown to prolong the duration of peripheral nerve blocks. The mechanism of action remains unclear. We hypothesized, that clonidine used as an adjuvant to ropivacaine extends the duration of an adductor canal block (ACB) by a peripheral mechanism, compared to ropivacaine alone when controlling for systemic effects.

METHODS: We conducted a paired, blinded, randomized trial in healthy volunteers. Participants received bilateral ACBs containing 20 ml ropivacaine 0.5% + 1 ml clonidine 150μg/ml in one leg and 20 ml ropivacaine 0.5% + 1 ml saline in the other leg. The primary outcome measure was duration of sensory block assessed by temperature sensation (alcohol swab). Secondary outcome measures were duration of sensory block assessed by: pinprick, maximum pain during tonic heat stimulation, warmth detection threshold and heat pain detection threshold.

RESULTS: We enrolled 21 volunteers and all completed the trial. There was no difference in duration of sensory block assessed with an alcohol swab: Mean duration in the leg receiving ropivacaine + clonidine was 19.4h (SD 2.7) compared to 19.3h (SD 2.4) in the leg receiving ropivacaine + placebo with a mean difference of 0.1h (95% CI: -1.0 to 1.3), P = 0.83. No differences in block duration were detected when assessed by: Pinprick, mean difference 0.0 h (95% CI: -1.3 to 1.3), maximum pain during tonic heat stimulation, mean difference -0.7 h (95% CI: -2.1 to 0.8), warmth detection threshold, mean difference -0.1 h (95% CI: -1.8 to 1.6) or heat pain detection threshold, mean difference -0.2 h (95% CI: -1.7 to 1.4).

CONCLUSIONS: Administering clonidine perineurally as an adjuvant to ropivacaine in an ACB did not prolong the duration of sensory block in a setup controlling for systemic effects of clonidine.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0181351
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume12
Issue number9
Number of pages12
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • Adjuvants, Pharmaceutic/therapeutic use, Adult, Amides/administration & dosage, Anesthetics, Local/administration & dosage, Clonidine/administration & dosage, Double-Blind Method, Drug Therapy, Combination, Female, Healthy Volunteers, Hemodynamics/drug effects, Humans, Male, Nerve Block/methods, Pain Threshold, Peripheral Nerves/drug effects, Young Adult

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