oa Southern African Journal of Anaesthesia and Analgesia - Melatonin as premedication for laparoscopic cholecystectomy : a double-blind, placebo-controlled study : scientific letter

Volume 14, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 2220-1181
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1173



There are only a few studies involving the use of melatonin for premedication for anaesthesia. The goal of our study was to compare the effects of melatonin and midazolam administered as premedication for laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

This double-blind, placebo-controlled study included 53 patients (ASA I, II) undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy under general anaesthesia. The patients were divided into three groups : group 1 (n = 18) included patients receiving 3 mg melatonin the night before and as premedication; group 2 (n = 17) included the patients receiving 3,75 mg midazolam (1 / 2 of a 7,5 mg tablet) by the same protocol as for melatonin; and group 3 (n = 18) included patients receiving placebo tablets. Preoperatively, the anxiety and sedation scores, as well as the quality of preanaesthetic sleep, were evaluated. Postoperatively, the anxiety and sedation scores and the number of remembered pictures were evaluated at 15 and 60 minutes and 6, 12 and 24 hours respectively. The intra-anaesthetic opioid requirements were also evaluated.
Preoperatively the lowest anxiety score was registered in the midazolam group; also the difference between the melatonin and midazolam groups was not significant. In the placebo group the anxiety score was significantly higher as compared with melatonin or midazolam. Postoperatively anxiety scores were lowest in the melatonin group at every time interval. The scores for the remembered pictures were consistently better in the melatonin group. The sedation score was lower in the melatonin group as compared with midazolam, as were the intra-anaesthetic opioid requirements.
Melatonin (3 mg) can be successfully used as premedication for laparoscopic cholecystectomy, especially for day case surgery. Advantages over midazolam and placebo include better perioperative anxiolysis, and a better recovery profile as assessed by sedation and memory.

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