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Old drug, new treatment

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2002 - Autumn


A postoperative pain reliever has a new role in the delivery room, according to a study by Yale doctors. When diluted, the drug hydromorphone, also known as Dilaudid, provides pain relief during labor and reduces the need for localized numbing agents, according to Raymond S. Sinatra, M.D., Ph.D., professor of anesthesiology and lead author of a study published in the May issue of the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia. “By decreasing the amount of local anesthetics in the epidural, women are able to push more vigorously and can actually feel the baby being born without feeling pain,” Sinatra said. On the basis of these findings, and clinical experience gained over several years, “hydromorphone is the epidural opioid of choice for labor and delivery analgesia at our institution,” said Sinatra.