Intrathecal morphine-induced pruritus can cause significant discomfort in parturients and is refractory to conventional antipruritic treatment. This systematic review and network meta-analysis evaluates the effectiveness of the medications used for prevention of intrathecal (IT) morphine-induced pruritus after cesarean delivery under spinal anesthesia.
A literature search was conducted from 1946 up to October 2019. We included all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared medications used for prevention of pruritus with a control group in women undergoing cesarean delivery under spinal anesthesia with IT morphine. The primary outcome examined was the incidence of pruritus up to 24 h after cesarean delivery. Dichotomous data were extracted and summarized using odds ratios (OR) and 95% credible intervals (CrI) with Bayesian random effects network meta-analysis model. The GRADE approach was used to evaluate quality of the studies and effect evidence.
Of the 26 studies included in the systematic review, 21 studies with a total of 2594 patients were included in the network meta-analysis [prophylaxis, n = 1603 (62%) vs. control, n = 991 (38%)]. These studies investigated seven classes of drugs including serotonin-receptor antagonists, dopamine-receptor antagonists, opioid agonist-antagonists, opioid-receptor antagonists, histamine-receptor antagonists, propofol and celecoxib. The network meta-analysis showed that serotonin-receptor antagonists’ prophylaxis [control vs. prophylaxis: 60% vs. 47%; OR (95% CrI): 2.69 (1.43-5.36)] and opioid agonist-antagonists prophylaxis [control vs. prophylaxis: 72% vs. 47%; OR (95% CrI): 4.57 (1.67-12.91)] decreased the incidence of pruritus compared to the control group. Although all included studies were at low risk of bias, the quality of the overall network meta-analysis pooled estimates was low.
This bayesian network meta-analysis of RCTs demonstrates serotonin-receptor antagonists and opioid agonist-antagonists may prevent pruritus in women undergoing cesarean delivery with intrathecal morphine compared to control group. However, further RCTs of adequate power and clearly defined end points are warranted.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.