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Use of preoperative gabapentin significantly reduces postoperative opioid consumption: a meta-analysis

Authors Arumugam S, Lau C, Chamberlain R

Received 12 May 2016

Accepted for publication 21 July 2016

Published 12 September 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 631—640


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael E Schatman

Sudha Arumugam,1 Christine SM Lau,1,2 Ronald S Chamberlain1–3

1Department of Surgery, Saint Barnabas Medical Center, Livingston, NJ, USA; 2Saint George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada, West Indies; 3Department of Surgery, Rutgers University, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, USA

Objectives: Effective postoperative pain management is crucial in the care of surgical patients. Opioids, which are commonly used in managing postoperative pain, have a potential for tolerance and addiction, along with sedating side effects. Gabapentin’s use as a multimodal analgesic regimen to treat neuropathic pain has been documented as having favorable side effects. This meta-analysis examined the use of preoperative gabapentin and its impact on postoperative opioid consumption.
Materials and methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted to identify randomized control trials that evaluated preoperative gabapentin on postoperative opioid consumption. The outcomes of interest were cumulative opioid consumption following the surgery and the incidence of vomiting, somnolence, and nausea.
Results: A total of 1,793 patients involved in 17 randomized control trials formed the final analysis for this study. Postoperative opioid consumption was reduced when using gabapentin within the initial 24 hours following surgery (standard mean difference -1.35, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -1.96 to -0.73; P<0.001). There was a significant reduction in morphine, fentanyl, and tramadol consumption (P<0.05). While a significant increase in postoperative somnolence incidence was observed (relative risk 1.30, 95% CI: 1.10–1.54, P<0.05), there were no significant effects on postoperative vomiting and nausea.
Conclusion: The administration of preoperative gabapentin reduced the consumption of opioids during the initial 24 hours following surgery. The reduction in postoperative opioids with preoperative gabapentin increased postoperative somnolence, but no significant differences were observed in nausea and vomiting incidences. The results from this study demonstrate that gabapentin is more beneficial in mastectomy and spinal, abdominal, and thyroid surgeries. Gabapentin is an effective analgesic adjunct, and clinicians should consider its use in multimodal treatment plans among patients undergoing elective surgery.

Keywords: gabapentin, preemptive analgesia, opioid, postoperative pain

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