Skip to main content

STORIES

Dr. Matthew McLaughlin Receives Funding to Study Gabapentin Use for Neuropathic Pain Management

STORIES

Dr. Matthew McLaughlin Receives Funding to Study Gabapentin Use for Neuropathic Pain Management

Headshot of Matthew J. McLaughlin, MD, MS, FAAPMR
Matthew J. McLaughlin, MD, MS, FAAPMR
Associate Director, Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine Program; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine; Clinical Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Kansas School of Medicine
Full Biography

Matthew McLaughlin, MD, MS, Rehabilitation Medicine/Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, received multiple grants for his research that focuses on neuropathic pain. He received a 1-year, $10,000 Darrell Abernethy Early Stage Investigator Award from the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics as well as a 2-year NIH R03 Award totaling $318,672 from the National Institutes of Health/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institutes of Child Health & Human Development.

Dr. McLaughlin’s study, “Variability in Gabapentin Exposure,” aims to improve medication management in the pediatric rehabilitation population.

Dr. McLaughlin explains, neuropathic pain is a specific type of pain that occurs with injury to the somatosensory system. Although commonly associated with spinal cord injury, stroke, and diabetic neuropathy, neuropathic pain is seen in nearly every pediatric-aged patient with cerebral palsy (CP) who undergoes selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) for spasticity management. Gabapentin has emerged as a first-line, non-opioid treatment for pediatric neuropathic pain.

“Although gabapentin pharmacokinetics have been explored in the peripheral compartment in a pediatric population, determining concentrations closer to the site of action (i.e. in cerebrospinal fluid or CSF) would allow more precise knowledge about the amount of medication required to elicit a desired clinical response,” said Dr. McLaughlin.

This study will establish the relationship between central (CSF) and peripheral (plasma) exposures of gabapentin and characterize the extent of variability in exposure among pediatric patients with CP undergoing an SDR procedure. He will also use a cell model to test the transport of gabapentin across membranes while evaluating the role of single-nucelotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the LAT1 transporter as a model for the blood-brain barrier.

Co-investigators on the project include Michael Partington, MD, MS, Soroush Merchant, MD, both of Children’s Mercy, Susan Abdel-Rahman, PharmD, (formerly of Children’s Mercy), Bruno Hagenbuch, PhD (KUMC), Jonathan Wagner, DO, Children’s Mercy (mentor) and DJ Murry, PharmD, University of Nebraska Medical Center (mentor).