Objectives This study aimed to evaluate the effect of the addition of dexamethasone to levobupivacaine on the duration of analgesia in forearm surgeries under ultrasound-guided interscalene brachial plexus block. Patients and methods This prospective randomized controlled, double-blind clinical trial was conducted on 60 patients who underwent elective forearm surgeries under ultrasound-guided interscalene brachial plexus block. Patients in the levobupivacaine group (group L) received 25 ml of 0.5% levobupivacaine plus 2 ml of normal saline 0.9%. Patients in the levobupivacaine dexamethasone group (group LD) received 25 ml of 0.5% levobupivacaine plus 2 ml of dexamethasone (8 mg). The onset of sensory and motor block, duration of the sensory block, time to first analgesic request, the number of failed block, total morphine consumption, side effects, and complications were recorded and compared. Results Onset of sensory block and motor block was significantly earlier in group LD compared with group L. Duration of sensory block and time to first analgesic request were significantly longer in group LD compared with group L. Total morphine consumption was significantly lower in group LD in comparison with group L. The number of failed blocks was nonsignificantly lower in group LD. The incidence of side effects and complications was low and comparable in both groups. Conclusion Addition of dexamethasone to levobupivacaine significantly shortens the onset of sensory and motor block, prolongs the duration of analgesia, decreases the 24 h morphine consumption, and prolongs the time to first analgesic request with minimal side effects.
Keywords: dexamethasone, interscalene brachial plexus block, levobupivacaine