2015 to 2021 Saw Increase in Gabapentinoid Use

Authors say increase driven by off-label uses for chronic pain with lack of evidence supporting use
2015 to 2021 Saw Increase in Gabapentinoid Use
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TUESDAY, Jan. 23, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Use of gabapentinoids has increased since 2015, particularly for chronic pain, according to a study published in the January/February issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Michael E. Johansen, M.D., from OhioHealth in Columbus, and Donovan T. Maust, M.D., from University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, used the 2002-2021 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to characterize gabapentinoid use in the adult population, including the ages of users; associated medications and diagnoses; and the likelihood of starting, stopping, or continuing gabapentinoids.

The researchers found that gabapentinoid users continued to increase from 4.0 percent in 2015 to 4.7 percent in 2021. Among individuals who used other medications for chronic pain, gabapentinoid use was much more likely. Numerous chronic pain conditions were associated with gabapentinoid use, despite minimal evidence to support this off-label use. The number of new gabapentinoid users clearly outnumbered gabapentinoid stoppers between 2011-2012 and 2017-2018, although this difference declined in the most recent cohorts.

"Gabapentinoids continue to be commonly used in conjunction with other sedating medications, which is concerning in light of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 2019 warning about coprescribing of gabapentinoids with other central nervous system depressants," the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text 

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