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A randomized controlled trial was performed to compare analgesic effects and adverse effects of oxycodone and sufentanil in patient-controlled intravenous analgesia (PCIA) after abdominal surgery under general anesthesia. Adult patients undergoing elective abdominal surgery were randomly allocated into oxycodone and sufentanil groups according to the randomization sequence. Study personnel, health-care team members, and patients were masked to the group assignment throughout the study period. Oxycodone (0.1 mg/kg for endoscopy; 0.15 mg/kg for laparotomy) or sufentanil (0.1 μg/kg for endoscopy; 0.15 μg/kg for laparotomy) was administrated at the end of surgeries. Postoperative pain was controlled using PCIA. Bolus dose was 2 mg and 2 μg for oxycodone and sufentanil group, respectively. The lockout time was 5 minutes for all patients, and there was no background infusion for oxycodone group, whereas 0.02 μg/kg/h background infusion was administrated in sufentanil group. The primary outcomes were the total analgesic doses in PCIA, effective bolus times, the length of first bolus since patients returning to ward from postanesthesia care unit (PACU), rescue analgesic rate in PACU, numeric rating scales, functional activity scores, and patients' satisfaction scores. A total of 200 patients were screened, and 175 patients were enrolled. Patients were randomly assigned to oxycodone (n = 87) and sufentanil (n = 88) groups. Both oxycodone and sufentanil PCIA provided adequate postoperative pain relief. Patients in oxycodone group showed a shorter consciousness recovery time after surgery. The major adverse effect in patients from oxycodone group was nausea/vomiting, whereas multiple adverse complications including nausea/vomiting, pruritus, and respiratory depression were observed in patients from sufentanil group. Patients from oxycodone group showed significantly reduced analgesic drug consumption (calculated as equivalent dose of morphine), functional activity scores, and patient satisfaction scores. Compared with sufentanil PCIA, oxycodone PCIA showed better analgesic effects, lower incidence of adverse complications, and less analgesic drug consumption during postoperative pain management.