Effect of a preoperative gabapentin on postoperative analgesia in patients with inflammatory bowel disease following major bowel surgery: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial

Naveed T Siddiqui, Howard Fischer, Laarni Guerina, Zeev Friedman
Pain Practice: the Official Journal of World Institute of Pain 2014, 14 (2): 132-9

BACKGROUND: Postoperative pain management for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can be challenging. These patients have a high tolerance to pain medication, and relative contraindications to the use of epidural analgesia, limiting the pain management options. We evaluated the effect of a single preoperative gabapentin dose on opioid consumption for patients with IBD undergoing abdominal surgery. Secondary outcomes were postoperative pain scores, opioid-related side effects, and patient's length of hospital stay.

METHODS: Following Research Ethics Board approval and informed written consent, patients were randomly allocated into 2 groups receiving either 600 mg of oral gabapentin or placebo 1 hour before the surgery. A blinded anesthesiologist recorded pain scores at rest and movement twice daily for 2 postoperative days. Also recorded were opioid consumption, time of return of bowel function, time to discharge, and opioid-related side effects on the opioid-related symptom distress scale (ORSDS).

RESULTS: Seventy-two patients completed the study. The difference in opioid consumption (P = 0.4169) and pain scores measured at rest and movement on all 4 postoperative visits was not statistically significant. There was no significant difference between gabapentin and placebo on all the 11 symptoms reported on the ORSDS. There was a slight increase in length of hospital stay in the placebo group, but the return of bowel function was similar between the groups.

CONCLUSIONS: This study examined the effect of a single preoperative administration of gabapentin in patients with IBD undergoing major bowel surgery. Our results suggest a single preoperative oral dose of gabapentin 600 mg does not reduce postoperative pain scores, opioid consumption, or opioid-related side effects.

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