Background: In day-case surgery, the effects of the anxiolytic lorazepam as premedication on the quality of postoperative recovery are unknown.
Objective: To evaluate whether lorazepam as a premedication beneficially affects quality of recovery (primary outcome) and psychological manifestations (secondary outcome) after day-case surgery.
Design: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.
Setting: Single tertiary centre.
Inclusion criteria: day-case surgery; age at least 18 years.
Exclusion criteria: insufficient knowledge of the Dutch language; intellectual disability; ophthalmology surgery; extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy; endoscopy; botulinum toxin A treatment; abortion; chronic pain treatment; preceding use of psychopharmaceuticals; contraindication to lorazepam.
Intervention: Lorazepam (1 to 1.5 mg) intravenously vs. NaCl 0.9% as a premedication prior to surgery.
Main outcome measure: Quality of Recovery-40 (QoR-40) score.
Secondary outcomes: State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-State/Trait); State-Trait Anger Scale (STAS-State/Trait); Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI); Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Timing of evaluation: T0: preoperatively (all scales); T1: before discharge (STAI-State/Trait); T2: first postoperative working day (QoR-40); T3: 7th day after surgery (all scales). Robust regression analysis was applied. Statistical analyses were adjusted for the corresponding baseline value and sex.
Results: Four hundred patients were randomised; 398 patients were analysed. Postoperative mean QoR-40 scores were similar in both groups at T2 (174.5 vs. 176.4, P = 0.34) and T3 (172.8 vs.176.3, P = 0.38). Postoperative mean STAI-State/Trait scores decreased less in the group with lorazepam at T1 (32.3 vs. 29.3, P < 0.0001; 32.7 vs. 30.8, P = 0.0002). STAI-Trait and HADS-Anxiety decreased less in the group with lorazepam at T3 (31.1 vs. 30.0; P = 0.03, 3.3 vs. 2.5, P = 0.003). STAS-State increased in the group with lorazepam at T3 (10.8 vs. 10.3, P = 0.04).
Conclusion: In day-case surgery, lorazepam as a premedication did not improve quality of recovery. Furthermore, this premedication may delay the decrease in postoperative anxiety and aggression.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01441843.