Background and objective: The α2-adrenoceptor agonist clonidine has potent central antinociceptive properties. The study was designed to investigate the effects of the combined subarachnoid administration of clonidine and prilocaine on spinal block and postoperative analgesia for the transurethral resection of tumours in the urinary bladder.
Methods: The controlled, prospective, double-blind study enrolled 40 patients scheduled for elective transurethral resection of bladder tumours under spinal anaesthesia with prilocaine. Patients were randomly assigned to receive an intrathecal injection of prilocaine 75 mg alone (control group) or in combination with clonidine 75 μg. We assessed haemodynamic changes (non-invasive arterial pressure, heart rate), pulse oximetry, the upper level of block, the onset and duration of sensory and motor block, postoperative analgesia and any adverse effects.
Results: There were no statistically significant differences in demographic data, heart rate, onset time or the levels of sensory or motor block. Analgesia lasted significantly longer in the clonidine group (498.4 ± 226.9 versus 187.2 ± 103.1 min; P < 0.05). The duration of motor block was longer in the clonidine group (165.5 ± 30.6 min) than in the control group (139.7 ± 40.4 min; P < 0.05) and the duration of sensory block was also longer in the clonidine group (157.3 ± 24.5 min) than in the control group (137.2 ± 31.2 min; P < 0.05). Fewer patients in the recovery room needed metamizol (dipyrone) in the clonidine group (5%) than in the control group (50%). Arterial pressure decreased significantly in the clonidine group 75-135 min after the block.
Conclusions: The addition of clonidine 75 μg to prilocaine 75 mg for subarachnoid anaesthesia increased the duration of sensory and motor block and reduced the need for additional postoperative analgesics by providing excellent analgesia for about 8 h during recovery from transurethral resection of bladder tumours.