Remifentanil for labor analgesia: an evidence-based narrative review INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF OBSTETRIC ANESTHESIA Van de Velde, M., Carvalho, B. 2016; 25: 66-74


This manuscript reviews the available literature on remifentanil patient-controlled intravenous analgesia in labor focusing on efficacy and safety. Remifentanil compares favorably to other potent systemic opioids but with fewer opioid-related neonatal effects. However, remifentanil provides modest and short-lasting labor analgesia that is consistently inferior when compared to neuraxial analgesia. The initial analgesic effect provided with remifentanil also diminishes as labor progresses. In several studies, remifentanil induced significant respiratory depressant effects in laboring women with episodes of desaturation, hypoventilation and even apnea. Given the safety concerns, we recommend that remifentanil patient-controlled intravenous analgesia should not be a routine analgesia technique during labor. In cases where neuraxial analgesia is refused or contraindicated and the use of remifentanil justified, continuous and careful monitoring is required to detect respiratory depression to provide safe care of both the pregnant woman and unborn child.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ijoa.2015.12.004

View details for Web of Science ID 000370109900011

View details for PubMedID 26777438