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Naloxone for Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: A Meta-Analysis

posted on 19.12.2014, 02:57 by Hengzhu Zhang, Xiaodong Wang, Yuping Li, Renfei Du, Enxi Xu, Lun Dong, Xingdong Wang, Zhengcun Yan, Lujun Pang, Min Wei, Lei She


The efficiency of naloxone for the management of secondary brain injury after severe traumatic brain injury (sTBI) remains undefined. The aim of this study is to evaluate the current evidence regarding the clinical efficiency and safety of naloxone as a treatment for sTBI in mainland China.

Methodology/Principal Findings

A systematic search of the China Biology Medicine disc (CBM), China Science and Technology Journal Database (VIP), China National Knowledge Internet (CNKI), and Wan Fang Database was performed to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of naloxone treatment for patients with sTBI in mainland China. The quality of the included trials was assessed, and the RevMan 5.1 software was employed to conduct this meta-analysis. Nineteen RCTs including 2332 patients were included in this study. The odds ratio (OR) showed statistically significant differences between the naloxone group and the control group (placebo) in terms of mortality at 18 months after treatment (OR, 0.51, 95%CI: 0.38–0.67; p<0.00001), prevalence of abnormal heart rates (OR, 0.30, 95%CI: 0.21–0.43; p<0.00001), abnormal breathing rate (OR, 0.25, 95%CI: 0.17–0.36; p<0.00001) at discharge, the level of intracranial pressure at discharge (OR, 2.00, 95%CI: 1.41–2.83; p = 0.0001), verbal or physical dysfunction rate (OR, 0.65, 95%CI: 0.43–0.98; p = 0.04), and severe disability rate (OR, 0.47, 95%CI: 0.30–0.73; p = 0.0001) at 18 months after the treatment. The mean difference (MD) showed statistically significant differences in awakening time at discharge (MD, −4.81, 95%CI: −5.49 to −4.12; p<0.00001), and GCS at 3 days (MD, 1.00, 95%CI: 0.70–1.30; p<0.00001) and 10 days (MD, 1.76, 95%CI: 1.55–1.97; p<0.00001) after treatment comparing naloxone with placebo group.


This study indicated that applying naloxone in the early stage for sTBI patients might effectively reduce mortality, control intracranial pressure (ICP), and significantly improve the prognosis.