Lidocaine for reducing propofol-induced pain on induction of anaesthesia in adults

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Feb 18;2(2):CD007874. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD007874.pub2.


Background: Pain on propofol injection is an untoward effect and this condition can reduce patient satisfaction. Intravenous lidocaine injection has been commonly used to attenuate pain on propofol injection. Although many studies have reported that lidocaine was effective in reducing the incidence and severity of pain, nevertheless, no systematic review focusing on lidocaine for preventing high-intensity pain has been published.

Objectives: The objective of this review was to determine the efficacy and adverse effects of lidocaine in preventing high-intensity pain on propofol injection.

Search methods: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; 2014, Issue 10), Ovid MEDLINE (1950 To October 2014), Ovid EMBASE (1988 to October 2014), LILACS (1992 to October 2014) and searched reference lists of articles.We reran the search in November 2015. We found 11potential studies of interest, those studies were added to the list of 'Studies awaiting classification' and will be fully incorporated into the formal review findings when we update the review.

Selection criteria: We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) using intravenous lidocaine injection as an intervention to decrease pain on propofol injection in adults. We excluded studies without a placebo or control group.

Data collection and analysis: We collected selected studies with relevant criteria. We identified risk of bias in five domains according to the following criteria: random sequence generation, allocation concealment, adequacy of blinding, completeness of outcome data and selective reporting. We performed meta-analysis by direct comparisons of intervention versus control. We estimated the summary odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals using the random-effects Mantel-Haenszel method in RevMan 5.3. We used the I(2) statistic to assess statistical heterogeneity. We assessed overall quality of evidence using the GRADE approach.

Main results: We included 87 studies, 84 of which (10,460 participants) were eligible for quantitative analysis in the review. All participants, aged 13 years to 89 years, were American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) I-III patients undergoing elective surgery. Each study was conducted in a single centre in high- , middle- and low-income countries worldwide. According to the risk of bias assessment, all except five studies were identified as being of satisfactory methodological quality, allowing 84 studies to be combined in the meta-analysis. Five of the 84 studies were assessed as high risk of bias: one for participant and personnel blinding, one for incomplete outcome data, and three for other potential sources of bias.The overall incidence of pain and high-intensity pain following propofol injection in the control group were 64% (95% CI 60% to 67.9%) and 38.1% (95% CI 33.4% to 43.1%), respectively while those in the lidocaine group were 30.2% (95% CI 26.7% to 33.7%) and 11.8% (95% CI 9.7% to 13.8%). Both lidocaine admixture and pretreatment were effective in reducing pain on propofol injection (lidocaine admixture OR 0.19, 95% CI 0.15 to 0.25, 31 studies, 4927 participants, high-quality evidence; lidocaine pretreatment OR 0.13, 95% CI 0.10 to 0.18, 43 RCTs, 4028 participants, high-quality evidence). Similarly, lidocaine administration could considerably decrease the incidence of pain when premixed with the propofol (OR 0.19, 95% CI 0.15 to 0.24, 36 studies, 5628 participants, high-quality evidence) or pretreated prior to propofol injection (OR 0.14, 95% CI 0.11 to 0.18, 52 studies, 4832 participants, high-quality evidence). Adverse effects of lidocaine administration were rare. Thrombophlebitis was reported in only two studies (OR not estimated, low-quality evidence). No studies reported patient satisfaction.

Authors' conclusions: Overall, the quality of the evidence was high. Currently available data from RCTs are sufficient to confirm that both lidocaine admixture and pretreatment were effective in reducing pain on propofol injection. Furthermore, there were no significant differences of effect between the two techniques.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anesthesia
  • Anesthesiology
  • Anesthetics, Intravenous / administration & dosage
  • Anesthetics, Intravenous / adverse effects*
  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Lidocaine / administration & dosage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / chemically induced
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Propofol / administration & dosage
  • Propofol / adverse effects*


  • Anesthetics, Intravenous
  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Lidocaine
  • Propofol