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Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2005 May;49(5):601-13.

Effect of preoperative Cox-II-selective NSAIDs (coxibs) on postoperative outcomes: a systematic review of randomized studies.

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Pain Research and Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics, University of Oxford, Oxford Radcliffe Hospital, The Churchill, Headington, Oxford OX3 7LJ, UK.



Preoperative use of coxibs has been claimed to reduce postoperative pain and analgesic consumption, and to affect other postoperative outcomes.


Systematic review of randomized trials comparing preoperative coxib with preoperative placebo, or active comparator. Searching of PubMed and Cochrane Library to August 2004. A qualitative and a quantitative analysis.


Twenty-two included trials with 2246 patients had high reporting quality and validity scores, though treatment group sizes were small, with a median size of 30 patients. Most trials used oral preoperative rofecoxib (mainly 50 mg) or celecoxib (mainly 200 mg). Preoperative coxibs significantly reduced both postoperative pain and analgesic consumption compared with preoperative placebo in 15/20 trials. In one further trial postoperative pain was reduced and in one analgesic consumption. There was no significant difference in the incidence of postoperative nausea and vomiting in 13/17 studies or when data were pooled. Postoperative antiemetic use was significantly reduced in all five trials reporting it; the NNT to prevent one patient using postoperative antiemetic was 10 (5.5 to 66). No trial reported any significant difference in intraoperative blood loss or recovery from anaesthesia. Patient satisfaction was significantly increased with preoperative coxib use. No conclusions could be drawn from the three trials comparing preoperative coxib with preoperative NSAID. One study reported significantly improved cost-efficacy with rofecoxib.


Preoperative coxibs had clear benefits in terms of reduced postoperative pain, analgesic consumption and patient satisfaction compared with placebo. Effects on postoperative nausea and vomiting remain uncertain, as do those on recovery from surgery or economic benefit. Future trials should be larger and more pragmatic in nature.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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