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Papers of the Week

2021 Aug




Gabapentin for acute pain in sickle cell disease: A randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled phase II clinical trial.


Puri L, Nottage K, Hankins JS, Wang WC, McGregor O, Gossett JM, Kang G, Anghelescu DL
EJHaem. 2021 Aug; 2(3):327-334.
PMID: 35844692.


Pain in sickle cell disease (SCD) can have a neuropathic component. This randomized phase II double-blinded placebo-controlled study evaluated the efficacy of gabapentin in reducing pain and opioid consumption (morphine-equivalent dose [MED]) during acute vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC). Of 90 patients aged 1-18 years with VOC pain, 45 were randomized to a single gabapentin dose (15 mg/kg) and 45 to placebo, in addition to standard treatment; 42 and 44 patients were evaluable in the gabapentin and placebo arms, respectively. A decrease in pain of ≥33% was reported in 68% of patients in the gabapentin arm and 60% of those in the placebo arm (one-sided 0.23). The median MED (mg/kg) in the gabapentin (0.12) and placebo arms (0.13) was similar ( 0.9). However, in the subset of patients with the HbSS genotype ( = 45), the mean (SD) absolute pain score decrease by the time of discharge was significantly greater in the gabapentin arm (5.9 [3.5]) than in the placebo arm (3.6 [3.3]) (0.032). Pain scores in the overall study population were not significantly reduced when gabapentin was added to standard treatment; however, gabapentin benefited individuals with the more severe genotype, HbSS, during acute VOC. Larger, prospective studies are needed to confirm these findings.