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Dexmedetomidine Dose Dependently Enhances the Local Anesthetic Action of Lidocaine in Inferior Alveolar Nerve Block: A Randomized Double-Blind Study
  1. Kentaro Ouchi, DDS, PhD and
  2. Kazuna Sugiyama, DDS, PhD
  1. From the Department of Dental Anesthesiology, Field of Oral and Maxillofacial Rehabilitation, Kagoshima University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Kagoshima, Japan
  1. Address correspondence to: Kentaro Ouchi, DDS, PhD, Department of Dental Anesthesiology, Field of Maxillofacial Diagnostic and Surgical Sciences, Faculty of Dental Science, Kyushu University Graduate School 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan (e-mail: ken2006anes{at}


Background and Objectives Dexmedetomidine (DEX) dose dependently enhances the local anesthetic action of lidocaine in rats. We hypothesized that the effect might also be dose dependent in humans. We evaluated the effect of various concentrations of DEX with a local anesthetic in humans.

Methods Eighteen healthy volunteers were randomly assigned by a computer to receive 1.8 mL of 1 of 4 drug combinations: (1) 1% lidocaine with 2.5 ppm (parts per million) (4.5 μg) DEX, (2) lidocaine with 5.0 ppm (9.0 μg) DEX, (3) lidocaine with 7.5 ppm (13.5μg) DEX, or (4) lidocaine with 1:80,000 (22.5 μg) adrenaline (AD), to produce inferior alveolar nerve block. Pulp latency and lower lip numbness (for assessing onset and duration of anesthesia) were tested, and sedation level, blood pressure, and heart rate were recorded every 5 minutes for 20 minutes, and every 10 minutes from 20 to 60 minutes.

Results Pulp latency of each tooth increased compared with baseline, from 5 to 15 minutes until 60 minutes. There were no significant intergroup differences at any time point. Anesthesia onset was not different between groups. Anesthesia duration was different between groups (that with DEX 7.5 ppm was significantly longer than that with DEX 2.5 ppm and AD; there was no difference between DEX 2.5 ppm and AD). Blood pressure decreased from baseline in the 5.0 and 7.5 ppm DEX groups at 30 to 60 minutes, although there was no hypotension; moreover, heart rate did not change in any group. Sedation score did not indicate deep sedation in any of the groups.

Conclusions Dexmedetomidine dose dependently enhances the local anesthetic action of lidocaine in humans. Dexmedetomidine at 2.5 ppm produces similar enhancement of local anesthesia effect as addition of 1:80,000 AD.

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  • The authors declare no conflict of interest.

    This work was supported by the departmental research fund of Kagoshima University.

    This study was registered with the University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials Registry (no. UMIN000016224).