Perioperative use of pregabalin for acute pain—a systematic review and meta-analysis

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Evidence supporting postoperative pain management using pregabalin as an adjunct intervention across various surgical pain models is lacking. The objective of this systematic review was to evaluate “model-specific” comparative effectiveness and harms of pregabalin following a previously published systematic review protocol. MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched from inception through August 2013. Data were screened and single extraction with independent verification and dual risk of bias assessment was performed. Quality of evidence (QoE) was rated using the GRADE approach. Primary outcomes were pain relief at rest and on movement and reduction in postoperative analgesic consumption. A total of 1423 records were screened, and 43 studies were included. Perioperative pregabalin resulted in: 16% (95% confidence interval [CI], 9%-21%) reduction in analgesic consumption (moderate QoE, 24 trials) and a small reduction in the magnitude of pain in surgeries associated with pronociceptive pain. Per 1000 patients, 10 more will experience blurred vision (95% CI, 5-20 more; moderate QoE, 17 trials) and 41 more sedation (95% CI, 13-77 more, 17 trials). To prevent 1 case of perioperative nausea and vomiting, the number needed to treat is 11 (95% CI: 7-28, 25 trials). Inadequate evidence addressed outcomes of enhanced recovery and serious harms. Pregabalin analgesic effectiveness is largely restricted to surgical procedures associated with pronociceptive mechanisms. The clinical significance of observed pregabalin benefits must be weighed against the uncertainties about serious harms and enhanced recovery to inform the careful selection of surgical patients. Recommendations for future research are proposed.

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