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Anesthesiology. 1995 Feb;82(2):428-35.

Cardiorespiratory and spinal cord blood flow effects of intrathecal neostigmine methylsulfate, clonidine, and their combination in sheep.

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Department of Anesthesia, Wake Forest University Medical Center, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157-1009.



Intrathecal neostigmine may produce analgesia by itself and may enhance analgesia from spinal clonidine. Before clinical trials, the spinal cord blood flow effects of these drugs alone and in combination should be examined in animals.


Conscious, nonpregnant ewes with indwelling vascular and thoracic spinal catheters received intrathecal injection of 0.2 or 2 mg neostigmine, 0.2 mg clonidine, or 2 mg neostigmine plus 0.2 mg clonidine. Mean systemic and pulmonary arterial and central venous pressures, heart rate, and cardiac output were monitored, arterial blood was sampled for blood gas tensions and pH, and spinal cord blood flow was determined by colored microsphere injection before and at 15, 60, and 240 min after spinal study drug injection.


Neostigmine alone did not affect cardiorespiratory variables or spinal cord blood flow. Intrathecal clonidine alone decreased systemic arterial and central venous pressures, whereas these effects were not observed with addition of neostigmine. Clonidine or neostigmine alone or the combination of clonidine and neostigmine did not affect spinal cord blood flow.


Intrathecal neostigmine alone or in combination with clonidine does not reduce spinal cord blood flow, an important preclinical toxicity issue. These results provide additional support for initial clinical trials of intrathecal neostigmine for analgesia.

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