Mayo Clin Proc Innov Qual Outcomes. 2023 Jan 11;7(1):58-68. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocpiqo.2022.12.002. eCollection 2023 Feb.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate indications for gabapentinoid prescription at an academic medical center.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed patients aged 18 years or older who were prescribed gabapentinoids (gabapentin or pregabalin) during the 2019 calendar year at an academic medical center in the US Midwest. Patient demographic characteristics, indications for gabapentinoid prescription, and prescribing clinician specialities were abstracted from a random sample, and the findings were extrapolated to the overall cohort.
RESULTS: A total of 6205 prescriptions for gabapentinoids were initially identified. In the random sample of prescriptions (n=721), 89.5% were for gabapentin and 10.5% were for pregabalin. More women than men were prescribed gabapentinoids, and the mean ± SD patient age was 58.6±16.9 years. The top 5 indications for gabapentinoid prescriptions were neuropathic pain, musculoskeletal pain, restless legs syndrome, anxiety, and headache. A majority (66.7%) of prescriptions had substantial-to-modest evidence, but 29.0% of prescriptions had conflicting or insufficient evidence.
CONCLUSION: To our knowledge, this study is one of the first to manually review clinical notes from multiple clinical specialities to ascertain indications for gabapentinoid prescriptions. Although most prescriptions had modest evidence to support their use, a high percentage of gabapentinoid prescriptions were issued for indications not supported by robust evidence. This suggests that prescribers are gravitating toward gabapentinoid use for reasons that are currently not fully understood. Clinician intent for off-label gabapentinoid prescriptions at the point of care should be further studied to understand the factors that lead to these clinical decisions.