A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was designed to compare the relative efficacy of prophylactic ondansetron, 4 mg intravenously (IV), when administered before induction of anesthesia or at the end of surgery to an outpatient population at high risk of developing postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV). Patients undergoing otolaryngologic surgery were randomly assigned to one of three different treatment groups: Group I (placebo) received saline 5 mL prior to induction of anesthesia and again at the end of surgery; Group II received ondansetron 4 mg in 5 mL prior to induction of anesthesia and saline 5 mL at the end of surgery; and Group III received saline 5 mL prior to induction of anesthesia and ondansetron 4 mg at the end of surgery. All patients received the same general anesthetic technique. A standardized regimen of rescue antiemetics was administered in the recovery room to patients with ≤2 emetic episodes or at the patient's request for persistent nausea. Episodes of nausea and vomiting, as well as the need for rescue antiemetics, were recorded for 24 h after the operation. The incidences of nausea and emesis in the recovery room after prophylactic ondansetron, 4 mg IV, administered either before induction (68% and 20%, respectively) or at the end of surgery (60% and 4%, respectively) were not significantly decreased compared to the placebo control group (80% and 12%, respectively). However, when ondansetron was administered at the end of the operation, it significantly reduced the need for rescue antiemetics in the recovery room (36% vs 64% in the control group). The postanesthesia care unit and hospital discharge times were similar in all three study groups. One patient in Group II and one patient in Group III were hospitalized because of intractable symptoms related to PONV. After discharge from the ambulatory surgery unit, the incidence of nausea, vomiting, and the need for rescue antiemetic drugs were similar in all three treatment groups. In conclusion, ondansetron (4 mg IV) was more effective in reducing the need for rescue antiemetics in the recovery room when administered at the end versus prior to the start of otolaryngologic surgery. Therefore, when ondansetron is used for antiemetic prophylaxis in outpatients undergoing otolaryngologic procedures, it should be administered at the end of the operation rather than prior to induction of anesthesia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine