Year : 2020  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 77-84

Review of adjuvants to local anesthetics in peripheral nerve blocks: Current and future trends

Department of Anaesthesiology, Military Hospital, Kirkee, Range Hills, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. G V Krishna Prasad
Military Hospital, Kirkee, Range Hills, Pune - 411 020, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sja.SJA_423_19

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In recent anesthetic practice, peripheral nerve blocks (PNBs) are used extensively for surgical anesthesia and nonsurgical analgesia. PNBs offer many benefits over other anesthetic techniques in a certain population of patients, and in some specific clinical setting, that may contribute to faster and safer pain relief, increased patient satisfaction, reduced hospital stay, and decreased overall healthcare cost. The technique involves the injection of the anesthetic in the vicinity of a specific nerve or bundle of nerves to block the sensation of pain transmitting to a specific portion of the body. However, the length of analgesia when a single anesthetic is used for PNB may not last long. Therefore, the practice of adding an additional agent called adjuvant has been evolved to prolong the analgesic effect. There are many such adjuvants available that are clinically being used for this purpose imparting great efficacy and safety to the anesthetic process. The adjuvants molecules are generally classified as opioids, alpha-2 agonist, steroids, etc. Most of them are safe to use and show little or no adverse event related to neurotoxicity and tissue damage. Although there is extensive use of such adjuvants in the clinical field, none of the molecules is approved by the FDA and is used as an off-label drug. The risk to benefit ratio must be assessed while using such an agent. This review will try to delineate the basic need of adjuvant in peripheral nerve block and will discuss the advantages and limitations of using different adjuvants and will discuss the future prospect of such application.

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