Effectiveness of gabapentin as a postoperative analgesic in children undergoing appendectomy

Katherine J. Baxter, Jennifer Hafling, Jennifer Sterner, Adarsh U. Patel, Helen Giannopoulos, Kurt F. Heiss, Mehul V Raval*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Purpose: Though gabapentin is increasingly used as a perioperative analgesic, data regarding effectiveness in children are limited. The purpose of this study was to evaluate gabapentin as a postoperative analgesic in children undergoing appendectomy. Methods: A 12-month retrospective review of children undergoing appendectomy was performed at a two-hospital children’s institution. Patients receiving gabapentin (GP) were matched (1:2) with patients who did not receive gabapentin (NG) based on age, sex and appendicitis severity. Outcome measures included postoperative opioid use, pain scores, and revisits/readmissions. Results: We matched 29 (33.3%) GP patients with 58 (66.6%) NG patients (n = 87). The GP group required significantly less postoperative opioids than the NG group (0.034 mg morphine equivalents/kg (ME/kg) vs. 0.106 ME/kg, p < 0.01). Groups had similar lengths of time from operation to pain scores ≤ 3 (GP 12.21 vs. NG 17.01 h, p = 0.23). GP and NG had similar rates of revisit to the emergency department (13.8 vs. 10.3%, p = 0.73), readmission (6.9 vs. 1.7%, p = 0.26), and revisits secondary to surgical pain (3.4 vs. 3.4%, p = 1.00). Conclusion: In this single-center, retrospective cohort study, gabapentin is associated with a reduction in total postoperative opioid use in children with appendicitis. While promising, further prospective validation of clinical effectiveness is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)769-774
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Surgery International
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Abdominal surgery
  • Analgesic
  • Appendectomy
  • Gabapentin
  • Opioid epidemic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery


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