Pain-re­liev­ing drug could re­duce need for epidu­rals in labour

Irish Independent - Health & Living - - UPDATE -

A RE­CENT study has found that an al­ter­na­tive pa­tient-con­trolled drug could sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the num­ber of women re­quir­ing an epidu­ral for child­birth.

In the RESPITE trial, re­searchers at the

Uni­ver­si­ties of Birm­ing­ham, Sh­effield and Not­ting­ham, com­pared two drugs given for pain con­trol in labour — pethi­dine and remifen­tanil PCA. Women in es­tab­lished labour were ran­domly as­signed one of the two pain killers and the re­searchers then as­sessed how many of these women later re­quired an epidu­ral.

Pethi­dine is a drug for pain re­lief rou­tinely given to thou­sands of women in Ire­land who give birth.

The re­sults of the trial in the The Lancet show that half the num­ber of women in the remifen­tanil PCA group needed an epidu­ral, com­pared to the pethi­dine group. Of the 199 women who were given pethi­dine, 41pc had an epidu­ral, com­pared to just 19pc of the 201 women who were given remifen­tanil PCA.

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