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Neurosurgery. 2003 Aug;53(2):331-6; discussion 336-7.

Effect of celecoxib and dexamethasone on postoperative pain after lumbar disc surgery.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.



This study was designed to assess the efficacy of perioperative administration of celecoxib (Celebrex; Pharmacia GmbH, Erlangen, Germany) in reducing pain and opioid requirements after single-level lumbar microdiscectomy.


We studied 34 patients (mean age, 44.26 yr; standard deviation [SD], 13.09 yr) allocated randomly to receive celecoxib 200 mg twice a day for 72 hours starting on the evening before surgery or placebo capsules in a double-blind study. Fourteen patients received 20 to 80 mg dexamethasone intravenously during surgery (mean, 40 mg; SD, 19.22 mg) because of visible signs of compression of the affected nerve root. After lumbar disc surgery, patients were monitored for visual analog scores for pain at rest and on movement, patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) piritramide requirements, and von Frey thresholds in the wound area.


Pain scores decreased and wound von Frey thresholds increased continuously until discharge, with no intergroup differences. Mean 24-hour PCA piritramide requirements were 22.63 mg (SD, 23.72 mg) and 26.14 mg (SD, 22.57 mg) in the celecoxib and placebo groups, respectively (P = not significant). However, patients with intraoperative dexamethasone (n = 14) required only 10.29 mg (SD, 8.55 mg) 24-hour PCA piritramide, in contrast to the 34.25 mg (SD, 24.69 mg) needed in those who did not receive intraoperative dexamethasone (P = 0.001). In addition, 24 hours after the operation, pain scores on movement were significantly lower in the dexamethasone subgroup (P = 0.003).


Celecoxib has no effect on postoperative pain scores and PCA piritramide requirements. The intraoperative use of 20 to 80 mg dexamethasone is able to significantly decrease postoperative piritramide consumption and pain scores on the first day after surgery.

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