Tramadol is effective for treating shivering during epidural anesthesia in parturients. In addition to its low affinity to opioid receptors, tramadol exerts a modulatory effect on central monoaminergic pathways. In this respect, there are parallels between the mechanisms of the action of tramadol and antidepressants such as amitriptyline. Meperidine is often recommended for the treatment of postanesthetic shivering. This prospective, double-blinded, and randomized clinical study was performed to compare the antishivering effects and accompanying side effects among tramadol, meperidine, and amitriptyline for the treatment of postepidural anesthetic shivering. Forty-five parturients who shivered during cesarean delivery under epidural anesthesia and requested antishivering treatment were randomly allocated to one of three groups for IV treatment: Group T (n=15) received tramadol 0.5 mg/kg, Group M (n=15) received meperidine 0.5 mg/kg, and Group A (n=15) received amitriptyline 15 or 20 mg. The response rate (shivering ceased after treatment in 15 min) was 87% and 93% for Groups T and M, respectively, compared with 13% in Group A (P < 0.01). The time that elapsed from treatment to the time shivering ceased was 5.1 ± 3.6 min (mean ± SD) for Group T and 4.2 ± 2.3 min for Group M. There was a significantly more frequent incidence (33%) of somnolence in Group M when compared with Groups T (7%) and A (0%) (P ± 0.01). However, no significant differences were shown for pruritus, nausea, vomiting, or Apgar scores of newborns. We concluded that both tramadol and meperidine show a significantly faster response rate in the treatment of postepidural anesthetic shivering when compared with amitriptyline in the dosage used; tramadol had a decreased incidence of somnolence when compared with meperidine.
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