Transdermal nicotine patch for postoperative pain management: A pilot dose-ranging study ANESTHESIA AND ANALGESIA Hong, D., Conell-Price, J., Cheng, S., Flood, P. 2008; 107 (3): 1005-1010


Nicotine has been shown to be antinociceptive in the postoperative period in animal studies. Human studies with nasal nicotine sprays have had mixed results, possibly due to variability in pharmacokinetics and potential patient variables such as exposure to nicotine in tobacco smokers. In this pilot study, we examined the analgesic effect of a transdermal nicotine patch applied before surgery in nonsmokers.We conducted a randomized, double-blind, prospective placebo-controlled trial of 40 subjects, undergoing general surgery that required postoperative patient-controlled analgesia and an overnight hospital admission. Immediately before surgery, a transdermal nicotine patch containing 0, 5, 10, or 15 mg was applied. The primary outcome variable was pain report using a numerical rating scale (NRS) in the first hour after surgery and over the next 5 days. Secondary outcomes were pain medication use, hemodynamic values, nausea, and sedation.Patients treated with nicotine reported lower pain scores when compared with those treated with placebo during the first hour after surgery (P = 0.003, average NRS decrease = 1.4, 95% CI = 0.3-2.6) and for 5 days after surgery (P = 0.03, average NRS decrease = 1.0, 95% CI = 0.1-1.9). There was no increased benefit of nicotine with doses larger than 5 mg. There was a trend suggesting decreased pain medicine use, increased nausea, decreased tachycardia, and slightly decreased systolic blood pressure in the nicotine groups, but these values did not reach significance.Transdermal nicotine, 5-15 mg, reduced postoperative pain scores but failed to decrease the need for opioid analgesics or opioid-related side effects after general surgical procedures.

View details for DOI 10.1213/ane.0b013e318163204f

View details for Web of Science ID 000258702500049

View details for PubMedID 18713921