Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics

, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 209–213 | Cite as

Continous Epidural Butorphanol Decreases the Incidence of Intrathecal Morphine-Related Pruritus After Cesarean Section: A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Epidural Butorphanol Decreases the Incidence of Intrathecal Morphine-Related Pruritus
  • Zhen WuEmail author
  • Mingjian Kong
  • Jianqing Chen
  • Laiyou Wen
  • Jing Wang
  • Jie Tan
Original Paper


This randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial investigated the effect of continuous epidural butorphanol on intrathecal morphine-related pruritus in patients undergoing cesarean section. Eighty-three patients undergoing elective cesarean section under spinal anesthesia (1.5 mL of isobaric bupivacaine 0.5 % and 0.1 mg of preservative-free morphine) were enrolled in this study. Subjects were randomized to receive epidural butorphanol (n = 43) or normal saline combined bupivacaine (n = 40). In the study group, after the umbilical cord was clamped, patients were administered an epidural loading dose of 1 mg followed by a 48-h infusion of 0.004 % butorphanol with 0.1 % bupivacaine at a rate of 2 mL/h. In the normal saline group, saline was used for the loading dose and the infusion 0.1 % bupivacaine at a same rate. Postoperatively, a blinded observer recorded the incidence/severity of pruritus, visual analog pain scores and sedation level at 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 24 and 48 h. The 48-h consumption of breakthrough analgesic (tramadol) was also noted. The primary outcome was the incidence of pruritus at 48 h. At 48 h, the incidence of pruritus was significantly lower in the butorphanol group (16.3 vs. 52.5 %; P < 0.001). Furthermore, compared with the normal saline group, the intensity of pruritus was also decreased with epidural butorphanol at 3, 6 and 9 h (all P ≤ 0.008). The pain scores were significantly lower at 12, 24 and 48 h (all P < 0.05) in the butorphanol groups. Patients only receiving bupivacaine required a higher cumulative dose of tramadol (37.5 ± 62.8 vs. 9.3 ± 36.6; P = 0.014). In patients undergoing elective cesarean section, continuous epidural butorphanol with bupivacaine decreases the incidence and severity of intrathecal morphine-related pruritus without adversely affecting the quality of postoperative analgesia.


Butorphanol Intrathecal morphine Pruritus 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhen Wu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mingjian Kong
    • 1
  • Jianqing Chen
    • 1
  • Laiyou Wen
    • 1
  • Jing Wang
    • 1
  • Jie Tan
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesia, Jiangyin HospitalMedical College of Southeast UniversityJiangyinPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Jiangyin HospitalMedical College of Southeast UniversityJiangyinPeople’s Republic of China

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