Perioperative Gabapentin May Reduce Opioid Requirement for Early Postoperative Pain in Patients Undergoing Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

Published:December 07, 2022DOI:


      To evaluate the efficacy of perioperative gabapentin or pregabalin treatment on postoperative pain and opioid requirement reduction in patients undergoing anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR).


      A systematic review of randomized control trials was conducted evaluating the effect of gabapentin or pregabalin on postoperative pain and opioid requirement for patients undergoing ACLR. The primary outcomes assessed were postoperative pain scores and opioid requirements. Secondary outcomes were complications, side effects, dosage, and timing of intervention.


      The initial search query identified 151 studies and 6 studies were included after full-text articles were reviewed. Three studies investigated the use of gabapentin and three studies investigated pregabalin. All three gabapentin studies reported significantly decreased or equivalent pain scores while also significantly reducing or removing total opioid consumption compared to control groups. Pregabalin demonstrated inconsistent efficacy for pain control and opioid consumption parameters across three studies. One study (pregabalin, n = 1) reported significantly increased incidence of dizziness with pregabalin compared to placebo.


      There is moderate evidence demonstrating that preoperative gabapentin may be safe and effective in reducing postoperative pain and opioid consumption after ACLR. Gabapentin may be considered when employed as part of a multimodal analgesia regimen; however, the optimal protocol has yet to be determined. Currently, there is limited evidence demonstrating the efficacy of pregabalin on pain and opioid consumption in the setting of ACLR.

      Level of Evidence

      Systematic Review of Level I Studies
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