Study Questions Sedatives Pre-Anesthesia for Surgical Patients

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Study Questions Sedatives Pre-Anesthesia
Study Questions Sedatives Pre-Anesthesia

(HealthDay News) — A new study questions the need for giving a sedative to surgical patients before anesthesia is administered. The report was published in the March 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A team led by Axel Maurice-Szamburski, MD, of the Hopital de la Timone Adulte in Marseille, France, randomly assigned 1,062 adults aged <70 who were having elective surgery to receive either lorazepam, an inactive placebo, or no medication before anesthesia.

The researchers found that lorazepam did not improve overall patient satisfaction, compared with no medication or a placebo. Even among the most anxious patients, the investigators found no significant differences in patient satisfaction between the groups. Moreover, it took longer for patients receiving the sedative to have their breathing tube removed after surgery compared with those who weren't given any sedative and those given a placebo. In addition, the rate of early mental alertness after surgery was lower in those who received the sedative (51%), compared with those who didn't receive a sedative (71%) and those given a placebo (64%). Also, on the day after surgery, the number of patients who said they did not remember the time period around their procedure was higher in the lorazepam group than in the other groups.

"Compared with placebo, lorazepam did reduce patient anxiety upon arrival to the operating room. Because there was no overall benefit from preoperative anxiety treatment, it is possible that anxiety arising upon arrival to the operating room does not influence overall patient satisfaction," the authors write.

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