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Magnesium as an adjuvant to postoperative analgesia: a systematic review of randomized trials

updated

Tags: self-treatment, Epsom, medications, nutrition, chronic pain, muscle pain, treatment, toxins, controversy, debunkery, water, pain problems, muscle

One article on PainSci cites Lysakowski 2007: Does Epsom Salt Work?

PainSci summary of Lysakowski 2007: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible.

Although “the biological basis for its [magnesium’s] potential antinociceptive effect is promising,” no pain-killing effect could be found in several trials of magnesium given to patients with anasthesia. It seems unlikely that magnesium would fail to relieve pain in this context, and yet succeed when absorbed from Epsom salts baths.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

BACKGROUND: Randomized trials have reached different conclusions as to whether magnesium is a useful adjuvant to postoperative analgesia.

METHODS: We performed a comprehensive search (electronic databases, bibliographies, all languages, to 4.2006) for randomized comparisons of magnesium and placebo in the surgical setting. Information on postoperative pain intensity and analgesic requirements was extracted from the trials and compared qualitatively. Dichotomous data on adverse effects were combined using classic methods of meta-analysis.

RESULTS: Fourteen randomized trials (778 patients, 404 received magnesium) tested magnesium laevulinate, gluconate or sulfate. With magnesium, postoperative pain intensity was significantly decreased in four (29%) trials, was no different from placebo in seven (50%), and was increased in one (7%); two trials (14%) did not report on pain intensity. With magnesium, postoperative analgesic requirements were significantly reduced in eight (57%) trials, were no different from placebo in five (36%), and were increased in one (7%). Magnesium-treated patients had less postoperative shivering (relative risk 0.38, 95% confidence interval 0.17-0.88, number-needed-to-treat 14). Seven trials reported on magnesium serum levels. In all, serum levels were increased in patients who received magnesium; in six, serum levels were decreased in those who received placebo.

CONCLUSIONS: These trials do not provide convincing evidence that perioperative magnesium may have favorable effects on postoperative pain intensity and analgesic requirements. Perioperative magnesium supplementation prevents postoperative hypomagnesemia and decreases the incidence of postoperative shivering. It may be worthwhile to further study the role of magnesium as a supplement to postoperative analgesia, since this relatively harmless molecule is inexpensive, and the biological basis for its potential antinociceptive effect is promising.

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