The analgesic effect of gabapentin and mexiletine after breast surgery for cancer

Argyro Fassoulaki, Konstantinos Patris, Costantine Sarantopoulos, Quinn Hogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

252 Scopus citations


We investigated the analgesic efficacy of mexiletine and gabapentin on acute and chronic pain associated with cancer breast surgery in 75 patients. They were randomized to receive, in a double-blinded manner, mexiletine 600 mg/d, gabapentin 1200 mg/d, or placebo for 10 days. Anesthesia was standardized, and all patients had access to routine postoperative analgesics on demand. The visual analog scale score assessed pain at rest and after movement. Three months later, all patients were interviewed to identify intensity of chronic pain and analgesic requirements. Mexiletine and gabapentin reduced codeine consumed from the second to tenth day by 50% (P = 0.029; P = 0.018 and P = 0.035 for mexiletine versus control and gabapentin versus control comparisons, respectively). Total paracetamol consumption was also reduced during the same time (P = 0.0085; P = 0.007 and P = 0.011 for the mexiletine and gabapentin groups when compared with the control, respectively). Pain at rest and after movement was reduced by both drugs on the third postoperative day. Pain after movement also was reduced by gabapentin between the second and fifth postoperative day. Three months later, the incidence of chronic pain, its intensity, and need for analgesics were not affected by either treatment. However, burning pain was more frequent in the control group (P = 0.033).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)985-991
Number of pages7
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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