Background: Esmolol is an ultrashort β-1 receptor antagonist. Recent studies suggest a role for esmolol in pain response modulation. The authors performed a meta-analysis to determine if the intraoperative use of esmolol reduces opioid consumption or pain scores.
Methods: PubMed, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, pubget, and Google Scholar were searched. Studies were included if they were randomized, placebo- or opioid-controlled trials written in English, and performed on patients 18 years of age or older. For comparison of opioid use, included studies tracked opioid consumption intraoperatively and/or in the postanesthesia care unit. Pain score comparisons were performed during the first hour after surgery.
Results: Seventy-three studies were identified, 23 were included in the systematic review, and 19 were eligible for 1 or more comparisons. In 433 patients from 7 trials, intraoperative esmolol decreased intraoperative opioid consumption (Standard Mean Difference [SMD], -1.60; 95% confidence interval [CI], -2.25 to -0.96; P ≤ .001). In 659 patients from 12 trials, intraoperative esmolol decreased postanesthesia care unit opioid consumption (SMD, -1.21; 95% CI, -1.66 to -0.77; P ≤ .001). In 688 patients from 11 trials, there was insufficient evidence of change in postoperative 1 hour pain scores (SMD, -0.60; 95% CI, -1.44 to 0.24; P = .163).
Conclusions: This meta-analysis demonstrates that intraoperative esmolol use reduces both intraoperative and postoperative opioid consumption, with no change in postoperative pain scores.