The relationship between gabapentin and pregabalin and posttraumatic stress disorder in burned servicemembers

J Burn Care Res. Sep-Oct 2012;33(5):612-8. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e31823dc710.


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects approximately 30% of burned Servicemembers returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom. Gabapentin and pregabalin are anticonvulsant drugs that limited evidence suggests may also be effective treatments for some psychological disorders. This study examines the relationship between these anticonvulsants and PTSD development in burned Servicemembers. Drugs received, injury severity score, TBSA burned, length of hospital stay, number of intensive care unit days, number of surgeries, and PTSD Checklist-Military scores and administration dates were collected. Subjects were grouped based on receipt of gabapentin or pregabalin, and the groups were compared. The primary outcome was incidence of a positive screen for PTSD. Because injury severity was significantly different between the two groups, propensity score matching based on injury severity score and TBSA was performed. Two hundred ninety burned Servicemembers received the PTSD Checklist-Military at least 30 days after injury. Of these subjects, 104 received gabapentin, pregabalin, or both and 186 did not. Despite significantly greater injuries, the group that received gabapentin or pregabalin did not develop PTSD at a different rate than those patients who did (P = .727). Propensity score matching resulted in 57 patients in each group; there was no difference between these groups in the incidence of PTSD (P = .663). These data suggest that gabapentin or pregabalin administration may not affect PTSD development in burned Servicemembers. Many factors influence the development and progression of PTSD, but few drugs have been identified that are effective at treating or preventing PTSD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amines / therapeutic use*
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Burns / complications
  • Burns / drug therapy
  • Burns / psychology*
  • Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Gabapentin
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel
  • Pregabalin
  • Propensity Score
  • Psychology, Military
  • Psychometrics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / drug therapy*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / therapeutic use


  • Amines
  • Analgesics
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids
  • Pregabalin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Gabapentin