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Pharmacy News

Dr Marie Sartain
/ Categories: APhA News

Fresh data finds gabapentin use trends upward in U.S.

Incorporating an additional 6 years of data, researchers updated a previously published analysis of gabapentinoid use among Americans.

The new study, published in the Annals of Family Medicine, includes data through 2021 from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and describes a growing trend in gabapentin use since the first report.

The share of adult patients taking gabapentinoids climbed to 4.7% in 2021 from 4.0% in 2015, researchers calculated. With pregabalin use not changing much since 2008, the increase was attributed mostly to gabapentin.

Authors of the study noted an alarming trend that reflects continuing concomitant use of gabapentin with opioids and other sedating drugs. Gabapentin is frequently used off-label for diabetes and chronic pain relief despite a lack of evidence to support these and other indications.

“Gabapentinoid users continued to increase following our 2015 publication despite a dearth of evidence supporting use in many cases,” the study authors wrote. “While these clinical scenarios can be challenging, continuation should be reconsidered at regular intervals.”

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