The Optimal Dosage of Intrathecal Morphine for Peripartum Analgesia

2014-07-24 14:00:57 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of this study is to determine the ideal dosage of intrathecal morphine for intra and post partum analgesia, while minimizing the side effect profile.


Regional anesthesia techniques such as combined spinal epidural (CSE) analgesia are very effective for the management of intrapartum pain. The advantages of these techniques are that they are safe when properly conducted and that they provide excellent analgesia while allowing the patient to remain awake and participate in the labor and delivery. The risks of maternal aspiration and fetal drug depression associated with general anesthesia are minimized. Finally, the effective analgesia associated with regional techniques blunt the hemodynamic effects caused by painful contractions and reduce maternal catecholamines, resulting in increased placental perfusion.1

Opioids in combination with local anesthetics in the spinal space provide effective pain relief during labor with minimal side effects. The advantages of spinal opioid administration include lack of motor blockade and faster onset of analgesia.2 In addition, since the opiate receptors are in the spinal space, a smaller amount of opioid can be used to provide excellent pain relief while minimizing the side effects. At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), the obstetric anesthesiology group uses a standard spinal dosing for CSE during labor which includes: 1 ml of 0.25% bupivicaine with 12.5 mcg of fentanyl.

Yeh and colleagues have found that morphine 150 mcg added to the fentanyl-bupivicaine spinal injection can prolong the duration of spinal analgesia but was associated with increased side effects. 3 The side effect profile of spinal narcotics include: nausea, vomiting, pruritus, and urinary retention. Although these side effects for the most part can be easily treated, they can be bothersome to the post partum patient. In a previous study performed from our institution, the addition of 100 mcg of morphine to spinal bupivicaine and fentanyl reduced the rate of breakthrough pain during labor analgesia and prolonged the time to first request for supplementation. Overall, it was found that the incidence of side effects was low but the group that received the spinal morphine did have more nausea and vomiting compared with the placebo group. 4

In this current investigation, we would like to assess whether an even smaller dose of spinal morphine would provide an effective, pain free recovery from vaginal delivery while decreasing the incidence of side effects, specifically nausea and vomiting. We would like to perform a formal dose response study to identify the ideal dose of intrathecal morphine that would not compromise the pain relief during labor while minimizing the side effects.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Placebo Control, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment


Labor Pain


Morphine, Saline


Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
United States


Not yet recruiting


Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-24T14:00:57-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A narcotic analgesic that can be used for the relief of most types of moderate to severe pain, including postoperative pain and the pain of labor. Prolonged use may lead to dependence of the morphine type; withdrawal symptoms appear more rapidly than with morphine and are of shorter duration.

Pain associated with OBSTETRIC LABOR in CHILDBIRTH. It is caused primarily by UTERINE CONTRACTION as well as pressure on the CERVIX; BLADDER; and the GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT. Labor pain mostly occurs in the ABDOMEN; the GROIN; and the BACK.

An opioid analgesic with actions and uses similar to those of MORPHINE, apart from an absence of cough suppressant activity. It is used in the treatment of moderate to severe pain, including pain in obstetrics. It may also be used as an adjunct to anesthesia. (From Martindale, The Extra Pharmacopoeia, 30th ed, p1092)

The beginning of true OBSTETRIC LABOR which is characterized by the cyclic uterine contractions of increasing frequency, duration, and strength causing CERVICAL DILATATION to begin (LABOR STAGE, FIRST ).

The repetitive uterine contraction during childbirth which is associated with the progressive dilation of the uterine cervix (CERVIX UTERI). Successful labor results in the expulsion of the FETUS and PLACENTA. Obstetric labor can be spontaneous or induced (LABOR, INDUCED).

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