How do anesthesiologists select patients when introducing a new drug into practice

Publication: Anesth Analg
Division: Cognigen


As part of the marketing strategy for the anesthetic drug propofol (Diprivan), Stuart Pharmaceuticals began a Phase IV postmarketing study soon after the drug received Food and Drug Administration approval in 1989. We used data from this study to test the hypothesis that anesthesiologists would initially use propofol for young, relatively healthy patients and then, with experience, for older, sicker patients. The Phase IV study involved 1722 institutions, 1819 anesthesiologists, and 25,981 patients. The study incorporated three sequential steps, each to be tested in five patients. In Step 1, propofol was used for induction only; in Step 2, for induction and maintenance of anesthesia by intermittent injection; and, in Step 3, for induction and maintenance by continuous infusion. Inclusion criteria were age 18-80 yr and ASA physical status I-III. Exclusion criteria were continuing pregnancy and a previous adverse anesthetic experience. Physicians used standardized data collection forms to voluntarily compile detailed demographic, perioperative, and outcome variables for patients. Data were then evaluated by an independent, multicenter team of seven anesthesiologists and three epidemiologists to determine whether the first two patients selected to participate in each step (Patients 1 and 2, 6 and 7, and 11 and 12) were less sick, younger, or undergoing less invasive or shorter procedures than patients enrolled later in the same steps (Patients 4 and 5, 9 and 10, and 14 and 15). Physicians gave propofol first to patients with fewer concurrent diseases than are found in the general population (10% were hypertensive versus 16%; 3% were diabetic versus 10%).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

By Roizen MF, Stanley TH, Thisted RA, Cynthia Walawander, White PF, Apfelbaum JL, Thaddeus H Grasela, Hug CC Jr, McLeskey CH, Nahrwold ML