One-Year Swallowing Outcomes in Patients Treated with Prophylactic Gabapentin During Radiation-Based Treatment for Oropharyngeal Cancer

Heather M. Starmer, Wu Yang Yang, Christine G. Gourin, Rachit Kumar, Bronwyn Jones, Todd McNutt, Sierra Cheng, Harry Quon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Recent investigations by our study team have demonstrated patients using gabapentin for pain management during chemoradiotherapy (CRT) do well maintaining swallowing during treatment with less need for narcotic pain medication, PEG dependence, weight loss, and short-term swallowing morbidity. The purpose of this investigation was to characterize the long-term swallowing function of these patients 1-year following treatment. Sequential patients receiving CRT for oropharyngeal cancer and concurrent gabapentin were evaluated 1-year following treatment for swallowing outcomes. Functional Oral Intake Scores (FOIS) were utilized to assess diet level. The MD Anderson Dysphagia Inventory (MDADI) was chosen to evaluate patient perception of swallowing function. Videofluoroscopic swallowing studies were completed approximately 1 year after treatment to assess physiologic outcomes as well as Penetration Aspiration Scores (PAS). Data from 26 consecutive participants were available for analysis. The majority of patients had advanced stage disease (Stage 3–4). No patients had a PEG tube 1-year following treatment, and the mean FOIS score was 6.83. Pharyngeal deficits were infrequent with reduced pharyngeal constriction and prominence/early closure of cricopharyngeus predominating. Mean PAS score was 1.5, indicating that the majority of patients had either no laryngeal penetration/aspiration, or transient penetration that was fully cleared. Mean MDADI score was 85.52, indicating that, in general, patients perceived their swallowing to be minimally impaired. Patients receiving gabapentin pain management as part of a comprehensive dysphagia prevention protocol during CRT have excellent long-term swallowing outcomes as reflected in diet levels, physiologic functioning, and patient-perceived quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
StateAccepted/In press - Feb 15 2017


  • Deglutition
  • Deglutitive disorders
  • Dysphagia
  • Gabapentin
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Speech and Hearing


Dive into the research topics of 'One-Year Swallowing Outcomes in Patients Treated with Prophylactic Gabapentin During Radiation-Based Treatment for Oropharyngeal Cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this