Herpes zoster (HZ) causes considerable pain and distress, and γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) and its
derivatives are assumed to control this, but the available data are inconsistent. This meta-analysis and systematic
review aimed to assess the effectiveness of GABA derivatives in the prevention of acute herpetic pain. The metaanalysis
was conducted following the PRISMA guidelines using PICO format, registered in PROSPERO number
CRD42018095758. PubMed, Web of Science, Ovid, Scopus, and EMBASE databases were searched. Records
were included if they were randomized controlled trials of patients undergoing HZ infection, investigating the
effect of GABA derivatives versus placebo in the treatment of HZ pain. Eligible trials were evaluated for the risk
of bias. Then data were extracted and analysed. The number of patients with observed presence of pain after
treatment was used to calculate odds ratio in a random effect model with the DerSimonian-Laird estimator. The I2
statistic was analysed for heterogeneity. The potential risk of bias was measured using Egger’s regression test.
The meta-analysis included three randomized controlled trials with a total of 297 patients. The incidence of acute
HZ pain events for GABA group was significantly lower compared to placebo group,18/148 vs 44/149, respectively
(OR = 0.36; 95% CI = 0.14 to 0.93; Z = 2.11; P = 0.035), Egger’s test yielded P = 0.308. In conclusion, the
present meta-analysis demonstrates that GABA derivatives reduce the incidence of acute herpetic pain. However,
additional, well-designed randomized clinical trials are needed to determine their dose- and time-dependency
regarding this symptom.