SGS Papers| Volume 227, ISSUE 2, P302.e1-302.e9, August 2022

Intrarectal diazepam following pelvic reconstructive surgery: a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial


      Patients undergoing vaginal hysterectomy with native tissue pelvic reconstruction typically have low pain levels overall in the postoperative period. Notwithstanding, pain control immediately after surgery may be more challenging and a barrier to same-day discharge. Intrarectal diazepam has been used for acute and chronic pelvic pain and has a pharmacokinetic profile ideal for intermittent use. However, its use has not been investigated after the surgical intervention.


      This study aimed to evaluate the effect of diazepam rectal suppositories on early postoperative pain after hysterectomy and vaginal reconstruction for pelvic organ prolapse.

      Study Design

      This was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial comparing postoperative pain scores after vaginal hysterectomy with native tissue prolapse repairs. Patients were randomized to receive either an intrarectal 10-mg diazepam suppository or an identical placebo. Moreover, the participants completed the questionnaires at baseline, the morning of postoperative day 1, and 2 weeks after the operation. Surveys included visual analog scales for pain, a validated Surgical Satisfaction Questionnaire, and queries regarding medication side effects and postoperative recovery. The primary outcome was pain scores based on a visual analog scale approximately 3 hours after surgery. The secondary outcomes included total morphine equivalents after surgery, patient satisfaction with pain control, same-day discharge outcome, and overall satisfaction. The chi-square, Fisher exact, and Mann-Whitney tests were used. Based on a 10-mm difference in postoperative vaginal pain using the visual analog scale, sample size was calculated to be 55 patients in each arm to achieve 80% power with an alpha of.05.


      From February 2020 to August 2021, 130 participants were randomized. Of those participants, 7 withdrew, and 123 were analyzed: 60 in the diazepam group and 63 in the placebo group. The median age was 65 years (interquartile range, 27–80), the median body mass index was 27.9 kg/m2 (interquartile range, 18.70–45.90), and 119 of 123 participants (96.7%) were White. There was no difference in the baseline characteristics, prolapse stage, or types of procedures performed between groups. Most participants had concurrent uterosacral ligament suspension with anterior and posterior repairs. Of note, 50 of 123 participants (41%) had midurethral slings. Moreover, 61 of 123 participants (50%) were discharged on the day of surgery. There was no difference in the primary outcome of vaginal pain 3.5 to 6.0 hours postoperatively (25 vs 21 mm; P=.285). In addition, the amount of rescue narcotics used in the immediate postoperative period (19.0 vs 17.0 MME; P=.202) did not differ between groups. At 2-weeks postoperatively, patients in the placebo group reported higher satisfaction with pain control in the hospital (31 vs 43 mm; P=.006) and pain control at home (31 vs 42 mm; P=.022). No difference was noted between same-day discharges and those who were admitted overnight.


      The placement of a 10-mg diazepam rectal suppository immediately after pelvic reconstructive surgery did not improve pain or narcotic usage in the early postoperative period. Although the placebo group reported slightly higher satisfaction with pain control 2 weeks after surgery, overall pain levels were low. Therefore, we do not believe that the addition of diazepam to the postoperative regimen is warranted.

      Key words

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