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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effect of secobarbital and morphine on arterial blood gases in healthy human volunteers.

Secobarbital is still widely used as a hypnotic and morphine as an analgesic perioperatively in surgical patients. Their combination is often used as a preanesthetic medication. Although their ventilatory depressant effect is recognized, the resulting blood gas changes have not been studied as yet adequately in a sufficiently large population of healthy volunteers. Therefore this study was undertaken. Thirty healthy volunteers who gave valid written consent were studied. Secobarbital 2.0 mg/kg intravenously caused a significant (P < .05) decrease in arterial oxygen pressure (PaO2), peaking at 10 minutes (n = 10; mean age, 23.4 years). Morphine, 0.2 mg/kg intravenously also caused a significant decrease in PaO2 at 5 minutes (n = 10; mean age, 26.3 years). The combination of the same doses of morphine and secobarbital caused a significantly (P < .01) greater decrease in PaO2 at 5 and 10 minutes than the sole administration of either drug (n = 10; mean age, 23.5 years). Arterial oxygen pressure remained significantly (P < .05) reduced for 30 minutes. Although the PaCO2 increases after secobarbital and morphine did not reach statistical significance, their combination caused a significant (P < .05) increase in PaCO2. Both secobarbital and morphine alone caused significant (P < .05) decrease in pHa at 30 minutes. Their combination caused a significant (P < .01) reduction in pHa from 5 minutes until 60 minutes. In conclusion, both secobarbital and morphine alone caused ventilatory depression. The duration of ventilatory depression was greater with the intravenous combination than with either drug alone.[1]


  1. Effect of secobarbital and morphine on arterial blood gases in healthy human volunteers. Zsigmond, E.K., Flynn, K. Journal of clinical pharmacology. (1993) [Pubmed]
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