Despite pharmacological treatment, 70-80% of patients report moderate to severe pain after surgery. Because nicotine has been reported to have analgesic properties in animal and human volunteer studies, the authors assessed the analgesic efficacy of a single 3 mg dose of nicotine nasal spray administered before emergence from general anesthesia.The authors conducted a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trial of 20 healthy women (mean age 45 (SD 8) yr) who were to undergo uterine surgery through a low transverse incision. After the conclusion of surgery but before emergence from general anesthesia, the anesthesiologist administered either nicotine nasal spray or a placebo. Numerical analog pain score and morphine utilization and hemodynamic values were measured for 24 h.The patients treated with nicotine reported lower pain scores during the first hour after surgery (peak numerical analog score, 7.6 (SD 1.4) versus 5.3 (SD 1.6); P < 0.001) and used half the amount of morphine as the control group (12 (SD 6) versus 6 (SD 5) mg; P < 0.05). Patients who received nicotine still reported less pain than those in the control group 24 h after surgery (1.5 (SD 0.5) versus 4.9 (SD 1.4); P < 0.01). Systolic blood pressure was lower in the group that received nicotine (105 (SD 3) versus 122 (SD 3); P < 0.001), but there was no difference in diastolic blood pressure or heart rate.Treatment with a single dose of nicotine immediately before emergence from anesthesia was associated with significantly lower reported pain scores during the first day after surgery. The decreased pain was associated with a reduction in morphine utilization and the analgesic effect of nicotine was not associated with hypertension or tachycardia.
View details for Web of Science ID 000225380200022
View details for PubMedID 15564950