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Effect of gabapentin on pain after cardiac surgery: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Departments of Anaesthesia and Critical Care Research Group, The Prince Charles Hospital, Chermside, Queensland, Australia


This study evaluated whether perioperative administration of gabapentin in cardiac surgery patients could reduce postoperative opioid consumption, postoperative sleep or perceived quality of recovery. This randomised controlled trial assigned 60 patients undergoing cardiac surgery to receive 1200 mg of gabapentin or placebo two hours preoperatively, and then 600 mg of gabapentin or placebo twice a day for the next two postoperative days. Postoperative opioid use was measured by the amount of fentanyl used in the first 48 hours postoperatively. Pain at rest and with movement at 12, 24, 48 and 72 hours after surgery, sleep scores on postoperative days two and three and patient-perceived quality of recovery were also assessed. Fentanyl use, visual analog pain scores, sleep scores, adjunctive pain medication use and number of anti-emetics given were not significantly different between the gabapentin and placebo groups. The incidence of side-effects was similar between the gabapentin and placebo groups, and no difference was found between groups in relation to quality of recovery. These findings indicate that preoperative use of gabapentin followed by postoperative dosing for two days did not significantly affect the postoperative pain, sleep, opioid consumption or patient-perceived quality of recovery for patients undergoing cardiac surgery.

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