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Transdermal scopolamine for the reduction of postoperative nausea in outpatient ear surgery: a double-blind, randomized study.

Author(s): Reinhart DJ, Klein KW, Schroff E.

Affiliation(s): Department of Anesthesiology, University of Utah, McKay-Dee Hospital, Ogden 84409-0370, USA.

Publication date & source: 1994, Anesth Analg. , 79(2):281-4

We evaluated the effect of transdermal scopolamine on the incidence of postoperative nausea and vertigo after outpatient ear surgery (exploratory tympanotomy, mastoidectomy, or endolymphatic sac and oval and round window surgery) in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. A transdermal patch containing either scopolamine (n = 19) or placebo (n = 20) was placed behind the nonsurgical ear 2 h before surgery. Anesthesia was induced with thiopental (4-6 mg/kg intravenously [i.v.]), sufentanil (0.5 microgram/kg i.v.), and vecuronium (0.1 mg/kg i.v.) and maintained with isoflurane (0.2%-2%) and nitrous oxide (70%) in oxygen. Patients were observed postoperatively in the recovery room and after discharge for 72 h. There was no significant difference between groups with respect to time in recovery room, time to discharge, incidence of in-house nausea, vomiting, amount of antiemetics required, or postoperative visual analog scale (VAS) scores while in the hospital. After discharge, there were lower VAS nausea scores (by repeat measures analysis, P < 0.05) and a lower reported incidence of nausea (31% vs 62%; P < 0.05) and vertigo (6.2% vs 25%; P < 0.05) in the active patch group versus the placebo group. There was a higher incidence of dry mouth in the active patch group (44% vs 25%). Seven patients did not complete the study due to failure to keep the patch in place or failure to return the diary from home; and one patient from the placebo patch group was admitted for uncontrolled nausea and vomiting. The authors concluded that transdermal scopolamine is effective in reducing, but not eliminating, postoperative nausea and vertigo after discharge in outpatient ear surgery.

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