Objectives Physicochemical incompatibilities between intravenous drugs are a recurrent problem in intensive care units. The present study was aimed at investigating the physical compatibility of remifentanil and sufentanil with other drugs (insulin, midazolam, propofol, potassium chloride, magnesium sulfate, furosemide, heparin, monobasic potassium phosphate) that are frequently administered together intravenously. In addition, the physicochemical compatibility of three common associations of drugs was evaluated in glass tube tests and during dynamic simulated Y site administrations (remifentanil–insulin–midazolam; remifentanil–insulin–propofol; sufentanil–insulin–midazolam).
Methods Physical compatibility was verified by visual inspection of the various mixtures (two, three or four drugs) in glass tubes and by pH determination of the mixtures collected during simulated Y site administrations. Solutions were considered as compatible in the absence of any visual change in the solution and of any significant variation in pH value. In addition, chemical stability was checked during in vitro dynamic simulations. The solutions were prepared in 50 ml syringes, placed on syringe pumps and connected to a Swan-Ganz catheter; the liquid collected at the tip was assayed by high performance liquid chromatography.
Results In the visual examinations, only the associations of remifentanil and furosemide were incompatible. The three assayed associations were compatible in the tested proportion range over 24 h.
Conclusions Remifentanil was physically compatible with the tested drugs, except for furosemide (Lasix; Sanofi-Aventis, 250 mg/25 ml) and physicochemically compatible with insulin and midazolam and insulin and propofol. Sufentanil was physically compatible with all tested drugs and physicochemically compatible with insulin and midazolam.
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