Der Anaesthesist

[Low-dose droperidol in children: rescue therapy for persistent postoperative nausea and vomiting].

PMID 22234576


Droperidol had been used as an effective antiemetic since the 1970s but was withdrawn from the market in 2001 because of a black box warning about QT prolongation and possible cardiac arrhythmia after high doses. In the meantime the black box warning has seriously been questioned and parenteral droperidol has again been licensed in 2008. Because droperidol acts on dopaminergic receptors different to 5-HT(3) antagonists and dexamethasone, it could possibly serve as a rescue drug after failed postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) prophylaxis. Persistent PONV after the recommended prophylaxis is a significant problem in pediatric anesthesia but a satisfactory strategy has not yet been defined. Therefore a retrospective audit was performed in order to evaluate whether low-dose droperidol (10 µg/kgBW) would be an effective rescue drug for failed antiemetic prophylaxis. The electronic anesthesia patient data base of the University Children's Hospital Zurich was searched from 2004-2009 for patients who received low-dose droperidol in the postanesthesia care unit as rescue therapy for persistent PONV after antiemetic prophylaxis. Based on the recorded electronic data the effectiveness of low-dose droperidol as PONV rescue therapy and possible side effects were analyzed. A total of 338 patients who received droperidol were found from a total of 34,032 patients and the charts were analyzed. Of these patients 134 were excluded because they had received droperidol for indications other than PONV, 43 patients were excluded because they had not received antiemetic prophylaxis before droperidol and in 17 patients the data were incomplete, leaving 144 patients with an average age of 12.3 years (interquartile range IQR 9.5-15.2 years) for analysis. The upper range of ages resulted from patients with chronic diseases who were still being treated in the Children's Hospital. Low-dose droperidol was given because of persistent nausea to 59 patients (41%) and to 85 patients (59%) for persistent vomiting. Initial antiemetic prophylaxis and/or therapy had consisted of dexamethasone plus tropisetrone in 80 patients and tropisetrone or dexamethasone alone in 64 patients. In 128 patients (89%) rescue therapy with a median dose of 10.9 µg/kgBW droperidol was effective but vomiting persisted in 16 patients (11%). Sedation was the only side effect recorded and this was observed in 39 patients (27%). Low-dose droperidol (10 µg/kgBW) was found to be effective as rescue medication in pediatric patients experiencing PONV despite various prophylactic antiemetic regimens. No neurological or cardiopulmonary side effects were recorded after this low dosage.

Related Materials

Product #



Molecular Formula

Add to Cart

Droperidol, European Pharmacopoeia (EP) Reference Standard