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Preoperative dexamethasone reduces postoperative pain, nausea and vomiting following mastectomy for breast cancer

Author(s): Gómez-Hernández Jorge | Orozco-Alatorre Alba | Domínguez-Contreras Marisela | Oceguera-Villanueva Antonio | Gómez-Romo Salvador | Alvarez Villaseñor Andrea | Fuentes-Orozco Clotilde | González-Ojeda Alejandro

Journal: BMC Cancer
ISSN 1471-2407

Volume: 10;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 692;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Abstract Background Dexamethasone has been reported to reduce postoperative symptoms after different surgical procedures. We evaluated the efficacy of preoperative dexamethasone in ameliorating postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV), and pain after mastectomy. Methods In this prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 70 patients scheduled for mastectomy with axillary lymph node dissection were analyzed after randomization to treatment with 8 mg intravenous dexamethasone (n = 35) or placebo (n = 35). All patients underwent standardized procedures for general anesthesia and surgery. Episodes of PONV and pain score were recorded on a visual analogue scale. Analgesic and antiemetic requirements were also recorded. Results Demographic and medical variables were similar between groups. The incidence of PONV was lower in the dexamethasone group at the early postoperative evaluation (28.6% vs. 60%; p = 0.02) and at 6 h (17.2% vs. 45.8%; p = 0.03). More patients in the placebo group required additional antiemetic medication (21 vs. 8; p = 0.01). Dexamethasone treatment significantly reduced postoperative pain just after surgery (VAS score, 4.54 ± 1.55 vs. 5.83 ± 2.00; p = 0.004), at 6 h (3.03 ± 1.20 vs. 4.17 ± 1.24; p < 0.0005) and at 12 h (2.09 ± 0.85 vs. 2.54 ± 0.98; p = 0.04). Analgesics were required in more patients of the control group (21 vs. 10; p = 0.008). There were no adverse events, morbidity or mortality. Conclusions Preoperative intravenous dexamethasone (8 mg) can significantly reduce the incidence of PONV and pain in patients undergoing mastectomy with axillary dissection for breast cancer. Trial registration number NCT01116713
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