Canadian Journal of Anaesthesia

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 327–332

Anticonvulsant therapy increases fentanyl requirements during anaesthesia for craniotomy

  • René Tempelhoff
  • Paul A. Modica
  • Edward L. Spitznagel
Reports of Investigation


This study was designed to determine whether patients receiving chronic anticonvulsant therapy demonstrate an altered requirement for fentanyl during anaesthesia. Sixty-one patients undergoing craniotomy were studied; 20 controls (MED = 0) who had never received anticonvulsants and 41 epileptics in whom therapeutic plasma concentrations of either one (MED = 1), two (MED = 2), or three (MED = 3) different anticonvulsants were documented. During anaesthesia with 60–70 per cent N2O in O2 and 0.2 per cent isoflurane, a maintenance dose (MD) of fentanyl was administered using a continuous variable-rate IV fentanyl infusion, supplemented by intermittent 50 μg IV boluses. In order to define the minimal dosage of fentanyl required, the MD was titrated according to increases or decreases in the heart rate and/or mean arterial pressure exceeding 15 per cent of baseline ward values. A progressively higher fentanyl MD was required in the epileptic patients (MED = 1 − 4.3 ± 0.5 μg · kg− 1 · hr− 1;MED = 2 − 5.4 ± 0.6; MED = 3 − 7.6 ± 0.6) compared with the control MD (MED = 0 − 2.6 ± 0.5) (P < 0.001). These findings indicate that there appears to be a dose- effect relationship between the number of anticonvulsants received and the maintenance dose of fentanyl required during balanced anaesthesia.

Key words

anaesthetics, intravenous: fentanyl anticonvulsants: carbamazepine, phenytoin, primidone, valproic acid complication: epilepsy pharmacology: drug interactions — anticonvulsants, fentanyl 


Le but de cette étude est d’observer les effets du traitement anticonvulsant de longue durée sur la dose de fentanyl requise pendant l’anesthésie. Soixante et un malades pour chirurgie intracranienne ont été etudiés de façon prospective: 20 patients controle (MED = 0) qui n’ont jamais recus d’anticonvulsant et 41 épileptiques avec des niveaux plasmatiques thérapeutiques pour un (MED = 1), deux (MED = 2) ou trois (MED = 3) anticonvulsants. La maintenance de l’anesthésie était assurée avec 70 pour cent N2O- O2, 0,2 pour cent isoflurane et une perfusion intraveineuse à niveau variable de fentanyl supplementée par des bolus intermittents de 50 μg. De manière a définir le dosage minimum de fentanyl requis (sans tenir compte du traitement anticonvulsant), la dose de maintenance de fentanyl (MD = perfusion + bolus) était augmentée ou diminuée selon les variations du rythme cardiaque et ou de la pression artérielle moyenne, pour les maintenir dans des limites n’éxcèdant pas ± 15 pour cent de leurs valeurs preop obtenues dans le service. Une augmentation progressive de la MD de fentanyl a été requise chez les patients épileptiques des differents groupes (MED = 1 − 4,3 ± 0,5 μg · kg− 1 · hr− 1; MED = 2 − 5,4 ± 0,6; MED = 3 − 7,6 ± 0,6) quand comparé au groupe contrôle (MED = 0− 2,6 ± 0,5) (P < 0.001). Aucune différence significative entre le groupe contrôle et les patients épileptiques, ne fut notée concernant les differents critères d’émergence de l’anesthésie. Ces resultats semble indiquer qu’il existe une relation dose- effet entre le nombre d’anticonvulsants recus par les malades et la dose de maintenance de fentanyl requise pendant l’anesthésie générate « balancée ».


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Copyright information

© Canadian Anesthesiologists 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • René Tempelhoff
    • 1
  • Paul A. Modica
    • 1
  • Edward L. Spitznagel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology, Division of Neuro-anesthesiaWashington University School of MedicineSt. Louis

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