Intrathecal magnesium sulfate does not reduce the ED 50 of intrathecal hyperbaric bupivacaine for cesarean delivery in healthy parturients: a prospective, double blinded, randomized dose-response trial using the sequential allocation method

BMC Anesthesiol. 2017 Jan 17;17(1):8. doi: 10.1186/s12871-017-0300-z.


Background: Addition of intrathecal magnesium sulfate to local anesthetics has been reported to potentiate spinal anesthesia and prolong analgesia in parturients. The current study was to determine whether intrathecal magnesium sulfate would reduce the dose of hyperbaric bupivacaine in spinal anesthesia with bupivacaine and sufentanil for cesarean delivery.

Methods: Sixty healthy parturients undergoing scheduled cesarean delivery were randomly assigned to receive spinal anesthesia with 0.5% hyperbaric bupivacaine and 5 μg sufentanil with either 0.9% sodium chloride (Control group) or 50% magnesium sulfate (50 mg) (Magnesium group). Effective anesthesia was defined as a bilateral T5 sensory block level achieved within 10 min of intrathecal drug administration and no additional epidural anesthetic was required during surgery. Characteristic of spinal anesthesia and the incidence of side effects were observed. The ED50 for both groups was calculated using the Dixon and Massey formula.

Results: There was no significant difference in the ED50 of bupivacaine between the Magnesium group and the Control group (4.9 mg vs 4.7 mg) (P = 0.53). The duration of spinal anesthesia (183 min vs 148 min, P < 0.001) was longer, the consumption of fentanyl during the first 24 h postoperatively (343 μg vs 550 μg, P < 0.001) was lower in the Magnesium group than that in the Control group.

Conclusions: Intrathecal magnesium sulfate (50 mg) did not reduce the dose requirement of intrathecal bupivacaine, but can extend the duration of spinal anesthesia with no obvious additional side effects.

Trial registration: This study was registered with Chinese Clinical Trial Registry (ChiCTR) on 15 Jul. 2014 and was given a trial ID number ChiCTR-TRC- 14004954 .

Keywords: Anesthesia; Cesarean delivery; Magnesium sulfate; Spinal.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anesthesia, Obstetrical / methods*
  • Anesthesia, Spinal / adverse effects
  • Anesthesia, Spinal / methods
  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage
  • Anesthetics, Local / adverse effects
  • Anesthetics, Local / pharmacology
  • Bupivacaine / administration & dosage
  • Bupivacaine / adverse effects
  • Bupivacaine / pharmacology*
  • Cesarean Section / methods*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Spinal
  • Magnesium Sulfate / administration & dosage
  • Magnesium Sulfate / adverse effects
  • Magnesium Sulfate / pharmacology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Magnesium Sulfate
  • Bupivacaine