Home E-Weekly February 25, 2014

Sedation Before Nerve Blocks: More Harm Than Good?

Published: February 24, 2014

Sedating chronic pain patients before administering nerve blocks intended to treat their conditions is likely to produce only minor benefits, if any at all, and can lead to a host of adverse consequences, according to a study appearing in the journal Pain Medicine.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine say sedation increases both health risks and false-positive results, the latter of which can lead to surgeries that do nothing to cure the underlying pain being addressed. Sedation also adds considerable expense for the patient, with anesthesia sometimes costing more than the procedure itself.

The one benefit: Sedated patients reported less pain immediately after nerve block injections. But their 30-day pain assessments, post-treatment function and overall satisfaction with the procedures were the same as for those who weren't sedated.

Jim Burger

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