Preoperative alprazolam reduces anxiety in ambulatory surgery patients: a comparison with oral midazolam.
Author(s): De Witte JL, Alegret C, Sessler DI, Cammu G
Affiliation(s): Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, OLV-Hospital, Aalst, Belgium. firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication date & source: 2002-12, Anesth Analg., 95(6):1601-6, table of contents.
Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial
Because an oral formulation of midazolam is not approved in certain countries, we evaluated oral alprazolam as an alternative. Forty-five outpatients scheduled for gynecological laparoscopic surgery participated in a double-blinded study to compare the effectiveness and side effects of oral alprazolam 0.5 mg with midazolam 7.5 mg, as a reference drug, and placebo. We evaluated psychomotor function by means of the Trieger Dot Test (TDT) and the Digit-Symbol Substitution Test. Simple memory tests were performed. Data were analyzed with chi(2) or paired Student's t-tests, or with one-way analysis of variance with the Student-Newman-Keuls or Kruskal-Wallis test, as appropriate; P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Alprazolam and midazolam both decreased anxiety scores more than placebo (P < 0.05). One hour after premedication, the Digit- Symbol Substitution Test score was similar in all groups, whereas the TDT score was greater (indicating impairment of performance) in the alprazolam group than in the placebo group (P < 0.05). Sedation scores, extubation time, and discharge times in the active drug groups did not differ from placebo. At discharge from the postanesthesia care unit, the TDT score was greater in both active drug groups compared with placebo (P < 0.05). Five patients, exclusively in the midazolam group, had amnesia (P < 0.05). We conclude that alprazolam may be an effective alternative to midazolam for anxiety reduction without causing amnesia. However, it may cause greater impairment of psychomotor function in the early postoperative period. IMPLICATIONS: Oral alprazolam 0.5 mg and midazolam 7.5 mg comparably reduce anxiety in ambulatory surgery patients. Despite early psychomotor impairment, neither drug delays postanesthetic extubation nor prolongs discharge from the postanesthesia care unit.