26th January 2007 at 16:38 GMT by Dr C.A.Jenner MB BS, FRCA. Permalink.
Patient Information Sheet on the indications, method and adverse effects of Guanethidine Blocks
What is Guanethidine?
Guanethidine is a drug, which has a specific effect on the sympathetic nerves and is normally used to control blood pressure.
Over years, guanethidine has also been effectively used to treat chronic pain, with a few risks or side effects involved.
A Guanethidine Block is used for treatment of pain conditions, which are confined to a limb. It is a method of temporarily blocking the nerves, especially the sympathetic nerves to the affected limb.
The sympathetic nerves control the automatic functions of the body and the constriction of the blood vessels. These nerves can also be involved in maintaining a pain condition affecting the limb.
One of the most prominent medical conditions involving the use of Guanethidine Block is the Complex Regional Pain Syndromes (CRPS), which include Sudek’s atrophy, algodystrophy and reflex dystrophy (RSD).
The regional guanethidine blocks are especially beneficial for the above conditions after other treatments have failed. In fact, guanethidine blocks have also proven to be useful with small children, who complain of a pain, blueness or a burning sensation in the leg.
The procedure for administering a guanethidine block generally follows the below listed steps:
In addition, guanethidine blocks are seldom used as a single treatment. Hence, a follow-up session with a physiotherapist might be advised by the physician. This is done in order to enable the patient to work on increasing exercises for the limb after the block has been administered.
Though the guanethidine blocks are very safe, the procedure can still have the following side effects:
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