Background and objective: To compare the antiemetic efficacy of ondansetron with two different hypnotic drugs (propofol 15 mg, midazolam 1 and 2 mg) for the treatment of established postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV).
Methods: Four-hundred-and-fifty-three patients scheduled for elective gynaecological or abdominal surgery were enrolled. One-hundred-and-twenty patients (26%) experienced postoperative emesis, and when nausea scores reached 2 or greater on a five-point scale, they were randomized to receive intravenously: propofol 15 mg (1.5 mL) in Group P, midazolam 1 mg in Group M1, midazolam 2 mg in Group M2 and ondansetron 4 mg in Group O.
Results: Four patients (13.3%) in Group P, 13 patients (43.3%) in Group M1, five patients (16.6%) in Group M2 and one patient (3.3%) in Group O required a second dose of the study drug. After administration of the study drugs, nausea scores were significantly lower in all groups than before these drugs were given. No patient had a sedation score over 3 (the patients remained awake and/or responded to verbal contact). The sedative effects of midazolam and propofol lasted for a much shorter time than the antiemetic effects of these drugs.
Conclusions: Propofol and midazolam used in subhypnotic doses were as effective as ondansetron in treating PONV in patients undergoing abdominal or gynaecological surgery without untoward sedative or cardiovascular effects.