Meta-analysis is a term used to describe statistical methods for evaluating a series of research reports; this analysis transcends the limitations that may be inherent in each of the individual studies summarized. Forty-five research reports of clinical trials for the prevention of myalgias after succinylcholine were assembled. Four classes of preventive drugs (nondepolarizing muscle relaxants, benzodiazepines, succinylcholine in “self-taming” doses, and local anesthetics) were reported in detail sufficient to allow for inclusion in a meta-analysis of clinical efficacy. Each study was summarized by determining the difference in the incidence of myalgias on the first postoperative day between treatment and control groups. A random-effects variance components approach was used. Seven meta-analyses were performed (atracurium, d-tubocurarine, gallamine, pancuronium, diazepam, succinylcholine in self-taming doses, and lidocaine). For each meta-analysis there was statistically significant heterogeneity among studies. Atracurium, dtubocurarine, gallamine, pancuronium, diazepam, and lidocaine all significantly decreased the frequency of myalgias by about 30%. Succinylcholine in self-taming doses alone was not efficacious.
Address correspondence to Dr. Pace, Department of Anesthesiology, 3C-444, University of Utah School of Medicine, 50 North Medical Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84132.
© 1990 International Anesthesia Research Society