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Papers of the Week

2021 Jul 01

Neonatal Netw



Gabapentin in Infants: Critical Evaluation of a Novel Sedative/Analgesic Medication.


McPherson C
Neonatal Netw. 2021 Jul 01; 40(4):267-272.
PMID: 34330877.


Chronic pain and agitation can complicate the clinical course of critically ill infants. Randomized controlled trials of analgesia and sedation in neonatal intensive care have focused on relatively short durations of exposure. To date, clinicians have few options to treat chronic visceral pain and hyperalgesia. Gabapentin has emerged as a common therapy for a diverse group of pain syndromes and neurologic conditions in adults. In neonates, case reports and series describe the successful treatment of visceral hyperalgesia arising from gastrointestinal insults with or without concomitant neurologic morbidities. Additionally, a case report and series describe the utility of gabapentin for neonatal abstinence syndrome refractory to standard pharmacotherapy. The adverse effect profile of gabapentin, most notably bradycardia and sedation, compares favorably to alternative analgesics and sedatives. However, the long-term impacts of prolonged gabapentin therapy have not been studied. Therefore, candidates for therapy must be selected carefully, and response must be assessed objectively. Future studies must assess the short-term and long-term benefits and risks of gabapentin compared to standard therapies for chronic pain and agitation in infants and refractory neonatal abstinence syndrome.