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Anesth Analg. 1998 Jul;87(1):206-10.

Magnesium sulfate reduces intra- and postoperative analgesic requirements.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesia and General Intensive Care A, University of Vienna, Austria.


In a randomized, double-blind study with two parallel groups, we assessed the analgesic effect of perioperative magnesium sulfate administration in 46 ASA physical status I or II patients undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery with total i.v. anesthesia. The patients received either magnesium sulfate 50 mg/kg preoperatively and 8 intraoperatively or the same volume of isotonic sodium chloride solution i.v. Anesthesia was performed with propofol (2 mg/kg for induction, 6-8 for maintenance), fentanyl (3 micrograms/kg for induction), and vecuronium (0.1 mg/kg for intubation). Intraoperative pain was defined as an increase of mean arterial blood pressure and heart rate of more than 20% from baseline values after the induction of anesthesia and was treated with bolus fentanyl (1-2 micrograms/kg). Postoperative analgesia was achieved with fentanyl (0.5 microgram/kg) and evaluated using the pain visual analog scale for 4 h. During the intraoperative and postoperative periods, patients in the magnesium group required significantly less fentanyl than those in the control group (control group 0.089 +/- 0.02 versus magnesium group 0.058 +/- 0.01; P < 0.05 and control group 0.021 +/- 0.013 and magnesium group 0.0031 +/- 0.0018; P < 0.01 for intraoperative and postoperative periods, respectively). We conclude that, in a clinical setting with almost identical levels of surgical stimulation, i.v. magnesium sulfate administration reduces intraoperative and postoperative analgesic requirements compared with isotonic sodium chloride solution administration.


The perioperative administration of i.v. magnesium sulfate reduces intra- and postoperative analgesic requirements in patients with almost identical levels of surgical stimulus. Our results demonstrate that magnesium can be an adjuvant to perioperative analgesic management.

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