A new study evaluating the trends in gabapentinoid prescribing in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) in the UK found an increase in gabapentinoid prescribing among patients with OA between 1995 and 2015.
Findings published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage suggest that a significant proportion of gabapentinoid prescribing may be for pain related to OA and therefore prescribing gabapentinoid for OA may have contributed to the increase.
Researchers identified patients aged ≥ 40 years with newly diagnosed OA from the UK clinical practice database and followed them to first prescription of gabapentin or pregabalin.
A total of 35,031 gabapentinoid prescriptions were reported in 383,680 patients newly diagnosed with OA. The age-standardised incidence rate increased from 1.6 (95% CI, 1.3-2.0) in 2000 to 27.6 (95% CI, 26.7-28.4) gabapentinoid prescriptions per 1000 person-years in 2015.
This trend was seen across all ages and regions of the UK and was not explained by an increase in follow-up. Those most likely to receive a gabapentinoid prescription were younger, female patients and the rates were higher in Northern Ireland, Scotland and the North of England. Approximately 9% of first prescriptions could be attributed to OA, a further 13% to comorbid licensed or unlicensed indications
“Given the potential for harm and limited evidence of efficacy for their use for OA pain, gabapentinoid prescribing for this common, painful condition requires careful justification by clinicians. Further research to investigate clinical decision making around prescribing these medicines is recommended,” the authors wrote.