BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: 5-hydroxytryptamine3 (5-HT3) receptor antagonists have been commonly used to reduce propofol injection pain. The aim of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of 5-HT3 receptor antagonists in decreasing the incidence and intensity of propofol injection pain.
METHODS: Online databases of Pubmed, Embase and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched as well as reference lists of included studies and recent reviews. Eligible randomized controlled trials (RCTs) assessing the efficacy and safety of 5-HT3 receptor antagonists for propofol injection pain were identified. The outcomes included the incidence and intensity of propofol injection pain and adverse effects. We calculated risk ratios (RR) with 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) for dichotomous data and adopted fixed or random-effects model when proper.
RESULTS: A total of eight RCTs were included in the final analysis. Compared with the control group, 5-HT3 receptor antagonists were related to a decreasing incidence of propofol injection pain (RR 0.43, 95 % CI 0.33-0.56, P < 0.05). Besides, they also effectively alleviated the severity of propofol injection pain. They significantly reduced the number of patients with moderate (RR 0.21, 95 % CI 0.15-0.30, P < 0.05) and severe pain (RR 0.16, 95 % CI 0.10-0.25, P < 0.05) during propofol injection. 5-HT3 receptor antagonists and lidocaine were equally effective in preventing propofol injection pain. Moreover, only one article mentioned the adverse effects of 5-HT3 receptor antagonists in two patients.
CONCLUSION: Our meta-analysis indicates that 5-HT3 receptor antagonists can effectively reduce the incidence and severity of propofol injection pain. Additionally, 5-HT3 receptor antagonists may become the alternatives to lidocaine in attenuating propofol injection pain. However, evidence is still limited for the safety of 5-HT3 receptor antagonists on propofol injection pain.