Pain Control Associated With Gabapentinoid Prescription After Elective Total Knee Arthroplasty

Yong Fang Kuo, Emily Kim, Jordan Westra, Denise Wilkes, Mukaila A. Raji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Gabapentinoid (GABA) prescribing has substantially increased as a nonopioid analgesics for surgical conditions. We examined the effectiveness of GABA use for postoperative pain control among patients receiving total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Methods: This retrospective cohort study using 2016 to 2019 data from a 20% national sample of Medicare enrollees included patients aged 66 and over years who received an elective TKA, were discharged to home, received home health care, and had both admission and discharge assessments of pain (n = 35,186). Study outcomes were pain score difference between admission and discharge and less-than-daily pain interfering with activity at discharge. Opioid and GABA prescriptions after surgery and receipt of nerve block within 3 days of surgery were also assessed. Results: There were 30% of patients who had a pain score decrease of 3 to 4 levels and 55.8% had pain score decreases of 1 to 2 levels. In multivariable analyses, receiving a nerve block was significantly associated with pain score reduction. A GABA prescription increased the magnitude of pain score reduction among those receiving a nerve block. Results from inverse probability weighted analysis with propensity score showed that coprescribing of GABA and low-dose opioid was associated with significantly lower pain scores. Conclusions: Post-TKA opioid use was not associated with pain score reduction. Receiving a nerve block was associated with a modest pain score reduction. Co-prescribing GABA with low-dose opioid or receiving a nerve block was associated with increasing magnitudes of pain reduction. Further research should identify alternatives to opioid use for managing postoperative TKA pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)941-947.e1
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2024


  • gabapentinoids
  • medicare
  • opioid prescription
  • postoperative pain
  • total knee arthroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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