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Papers of the Week

2022 Jan 28

Medicine (Baltimore)



Nebulized fentanyl for respiratory symptoms in patients with COVID-19 (ventanyl trial).


Shaikh N, Khatib MY, Wraidat M AA, Mohamed AS, Al-Assaf AA, Tharayil A GM, Abujaber AA, Nashwan AJ
Medicine (Baltimore). 2022 Jan 28; 101(4):e28637.
PMID: 35089202.


Patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) commonly experience distressing and challenging respiratory symptoms. Interventions such as oxygen therapy, oral opiates, and traditional nebulizers like ipratropium bromide and salbutamol are variable in their efficacy, and therapy responses in patients are difficult to predict. The purpose of this study is to investigate the efficacy of nebulized fentanyl citrate on dyspnea, cough, and throat pain in patients with COVID-19 and evaluate the safety with any potential adverse events.In COVID-19, about 59% of patients will exhibit cough, 35% generalized body ache and sore throat, and 31% dyspnea. Some methods such as nebulized lidocaine, magnesium sulfate, and systemic opioids have been used to manage the respiratory symptoms. It has been previously shown that fentanyl nebulizer has beneficial effect in improving shortness of breath in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The proposed theory behind that was that fentanyl decreased the rate of spontaneous respiratory rate, diminished the brain stem chemoreceptor response to hypoxia and hypercarbia, in addition to exhibiting a modulating effect on the brain stem. Therefore, we hypothesize that nebulized fentanyl has superior effect in improving shortness of breath and relieving cough compared to normal saline, in addition to its advantageous throat pain relief, while exhibiting fewer side effects in patients with COVID 19 infection. Therefore, this phase-III, randomized, comparative, parallel assignment, single-blinded clinical trial aims at assessing the efficacy and safety of nebulized fentanyl to suppress cough, improve breathlessness, and relieve throat pain in patients with COVID-19.