Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Anesthesiology. 2000 Aug;93(2):418-21.

Subarachnoid meperidine (Pethidine) causes significant nausea and vomiting during labor. The Duke Women's Anesthesia Research Group.

Author information

  • 1Division of Women's Anesthesia, the Departments of Anesthesiology and Biostatistics, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.



The combined spinal-epidural (CSE) technique using bupivicaine-fentanyl has become an established method of pain control during parturition. One limitation is the relatively short duration of effective analgesia produced by bupivicaine-fentanyl. In contrast, subarachnoid meperidine has been shown to provide a long duration of anesthesia in nonobstetric patients. Therefore, the authors tested the hypothesis that subarachnoid meperidine produces a significant increase in the duration of analgesia compared with bupivicaine-fentanyl.


Based on a power analysis of preliminary data, the authors intended to recruit 90 patients for the study, randomized to three groups: 2.5 mg bupivicaine-25 microg fentanyl, 15 mg meperidine, or 25 mg meperidine. However, after enrolling 34 patients, the study was discontinued because of a significant increase in nausea or vomiting in the study patients.


Nausea or vomiting was substantially increased in both meperidine groups compared with the bupivicaine-fentanyl group: 16 with nausea or vomiting in the meperidine groups (n = 21), compared with 1 in the bupivicaine-fentanyl group (n = 11), P = 0.0011. The mean duration of analgesia provided by 25 mg meperidine was 126 +/- 51 min, compared with 98 +/- 29 min for bupivicaine-fentanyl and 90 +/- 67 min for 15 mg meperidine. These data were not significant (P = 0.27).


Although intrathecal meperidine could potentially prolong subarachnoid analgesia during labor, its use was associated with a significant incidence of nausea or vomiting. These data do not support the use of subarachnoid meperidine in doses of 15 or 25 mg for labor analgesia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk