Pregabalin as Opioid Sparing Therapy

I’m hard at work on a protocol for my shop to decrease opioid usage as well as preparing my lectures on opioid sparing medications. Amongst those are the gabapentinoids. You’ve seen them often, I’m sure, mostly to treat neuropathic pain such as diabetic neuropathy as well as trigeminal neuralgia but what about for actual painful procedures? This family of medications reduce the abnormal hypersensitivity induced by inflammatory responses or nerve injury. What not just place it in the drinking water for our patients? That’s kind of where I’m going with this. We’re going to investigate pregabalin as opioid sparing medications. 

This study was published in 2011 and they gave patients Pregabalin, also known as Lyrica, to see how much opioids the pts would need. They got 150mg before the surgery and then 75mg twice a day until post-op day 5. The main drawback is how it delayed the time to extubation. I don’t know if I am interpreting the data correctly but patients on Pregabalin were on the vent for about 2 hours longer than those not on it. Perhaps the 150mg 1 hour before the surgery was too much. Either way, as noted on the abstract slide, it reduced the post-op consumption of opioids by 44-48%. That’s a big win.

Do you all routinely use Pregabalin or Gabapentin for pain management and opioid sparing at your institutions? I’m going to go through more data on this topic in the upcoming week. Check out my full post on pain management in a new tab).

Pesonen A, Suojaranta-Ylinen R, Hammarén E, Kontinen VK, Raivio P, Tarkkila P, Rosenberg PH. Pregabalin has an opioid-sparing effect in elderly patients after cardiac surgery: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Br J Anaesth. 2011 Jun;106(6):873-81. doi: 10.1093/bja/aer083. Epub 2011 Apr 6. PMID: 21474474.
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