Background: Oral premedication is widely used in pediatric anesthesia to reduce preoperative anxiety and ensure smooth induction. Midazolam is currently the most commonly used premedicant, but good results have also been reported with clonidine. The aim of the present study was to compare clinical effects of oral midazolam and oral clonidine.
Methods: We performed a prospective open study in 64 children who were randomly assigned to receive either oral midazolam 0.5 mg·kg −1 (group M) or oral clonidine 4 μg·kg −1 (group C) prior to mask induction. Drug acceptance, preoperative sedation and anxiolysis, quality of mask acceptance, recovery profile and parental satisfaction were evaluated.
Results: The taste of oral clonidine was judged as significantly better; 14% of children rejected oral midazolam. Onset of sedation was significantly faster after premedication with midazolam (30 ± 13.1 min) than with clonidine (38.5 ± 14.6 min), but level of sedation was significantly better after premedication with clonidine. Quality of mask induction was equally successful in both groups. A steal-induction was performed in 66% of patients of group C, but none in group M. We observed a trend towards an increased incidence of emergence agitation after premedication with midazolam. Parental satisfaction was significantly higher in group C.
Conclusions: In this study, premedication with oral clonidine appeared to be superior to oral midazolam. Quality of mask acceptance was comparable between groups, but oral clonidine was better accepted by the child, produced more effective preoperative sedation, showed a trend towards better recovery from anesthesia and had a higher degree of parental satisfaction.