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Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet]. York (UK): Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK); 1995-.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet].

Effect of prophylactic 5-HT3 receptor antagonists on pruritus induced by neuraxial opioids: a quantitative systematic review

Review published: 2008.

Bibliographic details: Bonnet M P, Marret E, Josserand J, Mercier F J.  Effect of prophylactic 5-HT3 receptor antagonists on pruritus induced by neuraxial opioids: a quantitative systematic review. British Journal of Anaesthesia 2008; 101(3): 311-319. [PubMed: 18611915]

Quality assessment

The review assessed the efficacy of prophylactic 5-HT3 receptor antagonists on neuraxial opioid-induced pruritus in patients having surgery or in labour. The authors concluded that these agents may prevent pruritus and postoperative nausea and vomiting. The review was well conducted and the conclusions appropriate, but the suggestion of publication bias made the reliability of the conclusions unclear. Full critical summary

Abstract

Pruritus is a frequent adverse event observed after neuraxial administration of opioids. Central 5-hydroxytryptamine subtype 3 (5-HT3) receptors may be activated in this process. This systematic review aimed to evaluate the efficacy of prophylactic 5-HT3 receptor antagonists on neuraxial opioid-induced pruritus. We searched Medline, Embase, and Cochrane Collaboration Library databases. Studies were evaluated with the Oxford Validity Scale. Studies with a score of 3 or more and reporting prophylactic administration of 5-HT3 receptor antagonists vs placebo were included. Fifteen randomized double-blind controlled trials (n=1337) were selected. 5-HT3 antagonists (n=775) significantly reduced pruritus [odds ratio (OR) 0.44 (95% confidence interval, 95% CI, 0.29-0.68), P=0.0002, number-needed-to-treat (NNT) 6 (95% CI, 4-14)], the treatment request for pruritus [OR 0.58 (95% CI, 0.43-0.78), P=0.0003, NNT 10 (95% CI, 7-20)], the intensity of pruritus [weighted mean difference (WMD) -0.35 (95% CI, -0.59 to -0.10), P=0.007], the incidence and the intensity of postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV), and the need of rescue treatment [respectively, Peto odds ratio (Peto OR) 0.43 (95% CI, 0.31-0.58), P<0.00001, NNT 7 (95% CI, 6-10); WMD -0.12 (95% CI, -0.24 to 0.00), P=0.05 and OR 0.42 (95% CI, 0.20-0.86), P=0.02, NNT 8 (95% CI, 5-35)]. However, the funnel plot was asymmetric, suggesting a risk of publication bias. 5-HT3 receptor antagonists may be an effective strategy in preventing neuraxial opioid-induced pruritus and PONV. Further large randomized controlled trials are required to confirm these findings.

CRD has determined that this article meets the DARE scientific quality criteria for a systematic review.

Copyright © 2013 University of York.

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