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Perioperative dexamethasone administration reduces ‘on-demand’ opioid requirements in bilateral total hip arthroplasty

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Bilateral joint arthroplasty is currently not common, but its usage is expected to increase in the future. This may result in larger amounts of opioids being consumed by patients due to anticipated increased pain and prolonged recovery from this procedure.


We describe the impact of perioperative steroid administration in a cohort of bilateral total hip arthroplasties (THAs) (44 hips) in relation to post-operative opioid consumption.


We report a single-surgeon consecutive case series of simultaneously performed bilateral THAs. Nine patients received two doses of 8 mg IV dexamethasone in the perioperative setting. There were 13 patients in the control group that received no dexamethasone. The primary outcome measure was post-operative analgesic requirements (mg/mcg). Secondary outcomes included post-operative pain according to the visual analogue score (VAS), anti-emetic requirements (mg) and length of stay (days).


The mean ‘on-demand’ Oxynorm® (IR oxycodone) usage in the ‘steroid’ group was lower than the ‘non-steroid’ group (47 mg vs 111 mg) (p = 0.005). There was also a significant decrease in the mean consumption of pregabalin in the ‘steroid’ group when compared with the ‘non-steroid’ group—464 mg versus 570 mg (p = 0.000). There was no reduction in the requirement of ‘regularly’ prescribed opioid analgesic medications. VAS analysis demonstrated no significant difference between the two groups at any timepoint. The ‘steroid’ group did have a trend towards a lower total LOS at 4.6 days compared with 5.5 days in the ‘non-steroid’ group (p = 0.0503).


We recommend the use of perioperative steroids in bilateral THA to reduce the consumption of potentially problematic opioid-based analgesics.

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Correspondence to David Keohane.

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Keohane, D., Sheridan, G.A. & Harty, J. Perioperative dexamethasone administration reduces ‘on-demand’ opioid requirements in bilateral total hip arthroplasty. Ir J Med Sci 190, 1423–1427 (2021).

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