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Papers of the Week

2019 Jun




Use of Nalbuphine for Treatment of Neuraxial Opioid-Induced Pruritus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.


Tubog TD, Harenberg JL, Buszta K, Hestand JD
AANA J. 2019 Jun; 87(3):222-230.
PMID: 31584400.


Opioid-induced pruritus is prevalent after neuraxial administration of opioid. A number of preventive measures have been reported; however, only a few studies evaluated treatment strategies for established pruritus. The pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamic profiles of nalbuphine make this drug ideal for the treatment of established pruritus. The primary outcome of this systematic review and meta-analysis was the incidence of pruritus after neuraxial opioid administration. Secondary outcomes were the incidence of sedation and postoperative nausea and vomiting. Pooled estimates were reported by calculating the risk ratio (RR) with 95% confidence interval (CI). Five trials consisting of 494 patients were included for analysis. There was a low quality of evidence that nalbuphine was effective in reducing the incidence of pruritus compared with active control (RR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.38 to 0.93; P = .02). Conversely, there was no difference between the incidence of sedation (RR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.42 to 2.71; P = .90) and postoperative nausea and vomiting (RR, 1.58, 95% CI, 0.75 to 3.31; P = .23). Although large studies are needed to decrease heterogeneity across studies, the current review showed that nalbuphine appears to reduce the incidence of opioid-induced pruritus.