BMC Anesthesiol. 2015;15(118)
Authors: Xian-Xue Wang et al
Background: Dexamethasone is an antiemetic alternative to ondansetron. We aimed to compare the effects of dexamethasone and ondansetron in preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) in patients undergoing laparoscopic surgery.
Methods: We searched PubMed, Embase, Medline and Cochrane Library (from inception to July 2014) for eligible studies. The primary outcome was the incidence of PONV during the first 24 h after surgery. The secondary outcomes included PONV in the early postoperative stage (0–6 h), PONV in the late postoperative stage (6–24 h), and the postoperative anti-emetics used at both stages. We calculated pooled risk ratios (RR) and 95 % CIs using random- and fixed-effects models.
Results: Seven trials involving 608 patients were included in this meta-analysis, which found that dexamethasone had a comparable effectiveness in preventing PONV (RR, 0.91; 95 % CI, 0.73–1.13; P = 0.39) with that of ondansetron within 24 h of laparoscopic surgery, with no evidence of heterogeneity among the studies (I2 = 0 %; P = 0.71). In the early postoperative stage (0–6 h), ondansetron was better at decreasing PONV than dexamethasone (RR, 1.71; 95 % CI, 1.05–2.77; P = 0.03), while in the late postoperative stage (6–24 h), dexamethasone was more effective in preventing PONV than ondansetron (RR, 0.51; 95 % CI, 0.27–0.93; P = 0.03). There was no significant difference in the postoperative anti-emetics used (RR, 0.90; 95 % CI, 0.67–1.19; P = 0.45).
Conclusions: Dexamethasone was as effective and as safe as ondansetron in preventing PONV. Dexamethasone should be encouraged as an alternative to ondansetron for preventing PONV in patients undergoing laparoscopic surgery.