Perioperative Pregabalin and Intraoperative Lidocaine Infusion to Reduce Persistent Neuropathic Pain After Breast Cancer Surgery: A Multicenter, Factorial, Randomized, Controlled Pilot Trial

J Pain. 2019 Aug;20(8):980-993. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2019.02.010. Epub 2019 Mar 5.


Persistent postsurgical pain is defined as pain localized to the area of surgery of a duration of ≥2 months and is, unfortunately, a common complication after breast cancer surgery. Although there is insufficient evidence to support any preventative strategy, prior literature suggests the possible efficacy of intravenous lidocaine and perioperative pregabalin in preventing persistent pain after surgery. To determine feasibility of conducting a larger definitive trial, we conducted a multicenter 2 × 2 factorial, randomized, placebo-controlled pilot trial of 100 female patients undergoing breast cancer surgery. Patients were randomized to receive an intraoperative lidocaine infusion (1.5 mg/kg bolus followed by 2 mg/kg/h) or placebo and perioperative pregabalin (300 mg preoperatively, 75 mg twice daily for 9 days) or placebo. All feasibility criteria were surpassed; recruitment of 100 patients was accomplished within 42 weeks, with a follow-up rate of 100% and study drug compliance of ≥80%. At 3 months, 53% of patients reported persistent neuropathic pain. Although there was no interaction between lidocaine and pregabalin, lidocaine decreased the development of persistent neuropathic pain (43.1% vs 63.3%; relative risk = .68; 95% confidence interval = .47-1.0). Pregabalin did not reduce persistent pain (60% vs 46%; relative risk = 1.3; 95% confidence interval = .90-1.90) and neither pregabalin nor lidocaine impacted acute postoperative pain, opioid consumption, pain interference, or quality of life. Our pilot trial successfully demonstrated feasibility and provided promising data for conducting further trials of intraoperative lidocaine infusions during breast cancer surgeries. Clinical trial number: NCT02240199 PERSPECTIVE: This article reports the findings of a pilot randomized, controlled trial evaluating the effects of perioperative pregabalin and intraoperative lidocaine infusions in patients undergoing breast cancer surgery. This trial demonstrated the feasibility of conducting a larger trial and provided promising data that these interventions may decrease the development of persistent pain.

Keywords: Perioperative; acute pain; chronic pain; clinical trial; pain; surgery.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage
  • Anesthetics, Local / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Care
  • Lidocaine / administration & dosage
  • Lidocaine / therapeutic use*
  • Mastectomy / adverse effects*
  • Mastectomy, Segmental / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuralgia / drug therapy
  • Neuralgia / etiology
  • Neuralgia / prevention & control*
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregabalin / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Analgesics
  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Pregabalin
  • Lidocaine

Associated data


Grants and funding