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Background: This double-blinded study aimed at evaluating and comparing the effects of magnesium and lidocaine on pain, analgesic requirements, bowel function, and quality of sleep in patients undergoing a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC).

Methods: Patients were randomized into three groups (n=40 each). Group M received magnesium sulfate 50 mg/kg intravenously (i.v.), followed by 25 mg/kg/h i.v., group L received lidocaine 2 mg/kg i.v., followed by 2 mg/kg/h i.v., and group P received saline i.v. Bolus doses were given over 15 min before induction of anesthesia, followed by an i.v. infusion through the end of surgery. Intraoperative fentanyl consumption and averaged end-tidal sevoflurane concentration were recorded. Abdominal and shoulder pain were evaluated up to 24 h using a visual analog scale (VAS). Morphine consumption was recorded at 2 and 24 h, together with quality of sleep and time of first flatus.

Results: Lidocaine or magnesium reduced anesthetic requirements (P<0.01), pain scores (P<0.05), and morphine consumption (P<0.001) relative to the control group. Lidocaine resulted in lower morphine consumption at 2 h [4.9 ± 2.3 vs. 6.8 ± 2.8 (P<0.05)] and lower abdominal VAS scores compared with magnesium (1.8 ± 0.8 vs. 3.2 ± 0.9, 2.2 ± 1 vs. 3.6 ± 1.6, and 2.1 ± 1.4 vs. 3.3 ± 1.9) at 2, 6, and 12 h, respectively (P<0.05). Lidocaine was associated with earlier return of bowel function and magnesium was associated with better sleep quality (P<0.05).

Conclusion: I.v. lidocaine and magnesium improved post-operative analgesia and reduced intraoperative and post-operative opioid requirements in patients undergoing LC. The improvement of quality of recovery might facilitate rapid hospital discharge.