The analgesic efficacy of intravenous dexamethasone for post-caesarean pain: A systematic review with meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis

Narinder Pal Singh, Jeetinder Kaur Makkar, Neha Yadav, Basavana Gouda Goudra, Preet Mohinder Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Analgesic efficacy of intravenous dexamethasone has not been well defined after caesarean delivery. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the impact of peri-operative dexamethasone administration on postoperative pain after caesarean delivery. OBJECTIVES: We investigated the impact of perioperative intravenous dexamethasone on postoperative pain after caesarean delivery. The two primary outcomes of interest were early (4 to 6 h) resting pain scores and time to first rescue analgesia. DESIGN: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs). DATA SOURCES: PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus and the Cochrane central registers of controlled trials were searched to identify RCTs from inception to April 2021. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: Prospective RCTs comparing the role of intravenous dexamethasone with non-active control were eligible for inclusion. Exclusion criteria included trials comparing various doses of dexamethasone without any control treatment arm, dexamethasone with other active drugs and trials comparing different routes of dexamethasone, for example, wound infiltration. RESULTS: Thirteen RCTs constituting of 988 parturients undergoing caesarean delivery were included. Patients receiving dexamethasone had lower pain scores at rest at 4 to 6 h after surgery, mean difference -1.29 [95% confidence interval (CI), -1.85 to -0.73], P < 0.0001, with low quality of evidence (I2 = 94%). Moderate quality of evidence (I2 = 17%) suggested that the time to first rescue analgesia in the dexamethasone group was significantly longer, mean difference 2.64 h (95% CI, 1.85 to 3.42), P  < 0.0001. Trial sequential analysis for pain scores suggested the benefit of dexamethasone; however, the requisite information size (RIS) could not be reached, whereas RIS was adequate for time to rescue analgesia. Significant reduction in pain scores at all times and opioid consumption at 24 h with dexamethasone were observed with sparse reporting on adverse effects. CONCLUSION: Peri-operative intravenous dexamethasone was associated with a significant decrease in postoperative pain scores at rest and a longer time to first rescue analgesia, along with a small but statistically significantly reduced opioid consumption after caesarean delivery compared with nonactive control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-510
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean journal of anaesthesiology
Volume39
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

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