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Anti-Convulsant Aids Knee-Replacement Patients

Pregabalin reduced pain, increased range of motion, study found

MONDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- The anti-convulsant drug pregabalin, given before and after surgery, helped reduce pain and promote mobility in patients having total knee replacement.

That study finding was presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, in San Francisco.

The study, funded by drug maker Pfizer Inc., included 60 total knee replacement patients who were divided into two groups. One group received 300 milligrams of pregabalin two hours before surgery and 150 mg twice a day for 14 days after surgery. Patients in the other group received a placebo.

All the patients received pain medication through an epidural catheter during surgery and through a patient-controlled device after surgery.

In the 32 hours after surgery, patients who received pregabalin reported lower levels of pain and used less pain medication. Patients in the pregabalin group also had a higher range of knee motion when they were discharged from the hospital -- 84 degrees versus 76 degrees for patients in the placebo group. A knee-motion range of at least 83 degrees is required to climb stairs.

"When you can walk up and down stairs, it makes a huge difference in patient quality of life," and improved range of motion also promotes quicker completion of post-surgery rehabilitation, said study author Dr. Asokumar Buvanendran, director of orthopedic anesthesia and associate professor of anesthesiology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more about total knee replacement.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Society of Anesthesiologists, news release, Oct. 14, 2007

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