Effects of gabapentin on postoperative morphine consumption and pain after abdominal hysterectomy: a randomized, double-blind trial

G Dierking, T H Duedahl, M L Rasmussen, J S Fomsgaard, S Møiniche, J Rømsing, J B Dahl
Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica 2004, 48 (3): 322-7

BACKGROUND: Preliminary clinical studies have suggested that gabapentin may produce analgesia and reduce the need for opioids in postoperative patients. The aim of the present study was to investigate the opioid-sparing and analgesic effects of gabapentin administered during the first 24 h after abdominal hysterectomy.

METHODS: In a randomized, double-blind study, 80 patients received oral gabapentin 1200 mg or placebo 1 h before surgery, followed by oral gabapentin 600 mg or placebo 8, 16 and 24 h after the initial dose. Patients received patient-controlled analgesia with morphine at doses of 2.5 mg with a lock-out time of 10 min for 24 h postoperatively. Pain was assessed on a visual analogue scale (VAS) at rest and during mobilization, nausea, somnolence and dizziness on a four-point verbal scale, and vomiting as present/not present at 2, 4, 22 and 24 h postoperatively.

RESULTS: Thirty-nine patients in the gabapentin group, and 32 patients in the placebo group completed the study. Gabapentin reduced total morphine consumption from median 63 (interquartile range 53-88) mg to 43 (28-60) mg (P < 0.001). We observed a significant inverse association between plasma levels of gabapentin at 2 h postoperatively, and morphine usage from 0 to 2 h, and from 0 to 4 h postoperatively (R2 = 0.30, P = 0.003 and R2 = 0.24 P = 0.008, respectively). No significant differences in pain at rest or during mobilization, or in side-effects, were observed between groups.

CONCLUSION: Gabapentin in a total dose of 3000 mg, administered before and during the first 24 h after abdominal hysterectomy, reduced morphine consumption with 32%, without significant effects on pain scores. No significant differences in side-effects were observed between study-groups.

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