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The Analgesic Effects of Perioperative Gabapentin on Postoperative Pain: A Meta-Analysis
  1. Robert W. Hurley, M.D., Ph.D.,
  2. Steven P. Cohen, M.D.,
  3. Kayode A. Williams, M.D.,
  4. Andrew J. Rowlingson, B.A. and
  5. Christopher L. Wu, M.D.
  1. From the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.
  1. Reprint requests: Robert W. Hurley, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University, Carnegie 280, 600 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21287.. E-mail: rhurley3{at}


Background and Objectives: Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant that has been shown to be effective in the treatment of neuropathic and inflammatory pain in animal and human studies. The analgesic effect of its perioperative use has not been fully elucidated.

Methods: This systematic review (meta-analysis) included 12 randomized controlled trials of 896 patients undergoing a variety of surgical procedures that investigated the impact of perioperative administration of gabapentin on postoperative outcome.

Results: The pooled visual analog scores for pain at 4 hours and 24 hours were significantly less in those patients who received gabapentin (weighted mean difference [WMD] = −1.57; 95% confidence interval [CI], −2.14 to −0.99 and WMD = −0.74; CI, −1.03 to −0.45, respectively). A concomitant decrease in opioid usage by those patients who received gabapentin was also noted (odds ratio [OR] = −17.84; CI, −23.50 to −12.18). Gabapentin administration was associated with sedation and anxiolysis (OR = 3.28; CI, 1.21-8.87) but not associated with a difference in lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting.

Conclusions: Based on this systematic review, perioperative oral gabapentin is a useful adjunct for the management of postoperative pain that provides analgesia through a different mechanism than opioids and other analgesic agents and would make a reasonable addition to a multimodal analgesic treatment plan.

  • Analgesia
  • Gabapentin
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Opioid
  • Preemptive
  • Surgery

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  • Presented in part at the 30th Annual Spring Regional Anesthesia Meeting, Toronto, ON, Canada, April 21-25, 2005.