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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1985 Nov;38(5):549-53.

Prilocaine in arthroscopy: clinical pharmacokinetics and rational use.


Prilocaine pharmacokinetics were determined in 60 patients receiving the drug by two different routes of administration (intra-articular and subcutaneous) during arthroscopy under local anesthesia with controlled pressure irrigation. Resorption of prilocaine by subcutaneous tissues was slow and did not lead to high serum levels. On the contrary, prilocaine resorption by the synovium was fast and induced a sharp serum peak (265.8 +/- 163.5 ng/ml) in the hour after the end of the examination. The drug was completely eliminated from the blood after 24 hours, as the prilocaine t1/2 is about 5 hours. The first procedure was perfected to reduce the risk of methemoglobinemia, which occurred in four of 105 patients. Applied pressure was lowered to 100 mm Hg to prevent the escape of anesthetic solution into the soft tissue of the leg, the prilocaine concentration was reduced to 1 gm/L, and the arthroscope was only set up after a delay to allow the intra-articular anesthetic effect of prilocaine to become established. So far, 200 arthroscopies have been performed with this improved protocol without any problem.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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