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Burns. 2011 Sep;37(6):951-7. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2011.03.004. Epub 2011 Apr 15.

Adjuvant use of intravenous lidocaine for procedural burn pain relief: a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial.

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Victorian Adult Burns Service and School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, Monash University, The Alfred Hospital, Commercial Rd, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



Pain is a major issue for patients with severe burn. High dose intravenous opioids form the mainstay of procedural burns pain management; however it was suggested that intravenous lidocaine assists with minimising the pain experience. This study aimed to evaluate whether intravenous lidocaine improved analgesic efficacy and decreased opioid consumption during a burn wound care procedure.


A prospective double-blind randomized crossover study compared intravenous lidocaine versus placebo alongside patient controlled analgesia (PCA) in 45 patients with severe burn undergoing wound care procedures (i.e. dressing changeĀ±debridement) on two consecutive days. Subjects were randomised to either the intervention or control condition on the first dressing day, and received the alternate condition on the second dressing day. During the intervention condition, subjects received lidocaine of 1.5 mg/kg/body weight followed by two boluses of 0.5 mg/kg at 5-min intervals followed by a continuous infusion. During the control condition, 0.9% sodium chloride was administered at an equivalent volume, dose and rate to that of lidocaine. Primary end points included pain intensity as measured by verbal rating scale (VRS), time to rescue analgesia, opioid requests and consumption and overall anxiety and level of satisfaction.


Changes in the VRS score was significantly lower for lidocaine [difference (95% CI)=0.36 (0.17-0.55)] as compared to placebo. However, there were no significant clinical or statistical differences regarding the effects of lidocaine and placebo on opioid requests and consumption, anxiety or level of satisfaction during the first and second dressing procedures.


In this study, the clinical benefit of intravenous lidocaine for pain relief during burn wound dressing changes in terms of overall pain scores and opioid consumption was unremarkable. Further investigations using different lidocaine regimes for the management of procedural burn pain are warranted.

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