Home > Prescribing trends of gabapentin, pregabalin, and oxycodone: a secondary analysis of primary care prescribing patterns in England.

Green, Katlyn and Cooke O'Dowd, Nora and Watt, Hilary and Majeed, Azeem and Pinder, Richard J . (2019) Prescribing trends of gabapentin, pregabalin, and oxycodone: a secondary analysis of primary care prescribing patterns in England. BJGP Open, bjgpopen19X101662 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgpopen19X101662

URL: https://bjgpopen.org/content/early/2019/09/16/bjgp...


Background: The risk of iatrogenic harm from the use and misuse of prescription drugs such as gabapentin, pregabalin, and oxycodone is substantial. In recent years, deaths associated with these drugs in England have increased.

Aim: To characterise general practice prescribing trends for gabapentin, pregabalin, and oxycodone — termed dependence forming medicines (DFM) — in England and describe potential drivers of unwarranted variation (that is, very high prescribing).

Design & setting: This study is a retrospective secondary analysis of open source, publicly available government data from various sources pertaining to primary care demographics and prescriptions.

Method: This study used 5 consecutive years (April 2013–March 2018) of aggregate data to investigate longitudinal trends of prescribing and variation in prescribing trends at practice and clinical commissioning group (CCG) level.

Results: Annual prescriptions of gabapentin, pregabalin, and oxycodone increased each year over the period. Variation in prescribing trends was associated with GP practice deprivation quintile, where the most deprived GP practices prescribed 313% (P<0.001) and 238% (P<0.001) greater volumes of gabapentin and pregabalin per person respectively, than practices in the least deprived quintile. The highest prescribing CCGs of each of these drugs were predominantly in northern and eastern regions of England.

Conclusion: Substantial increases in gabapentin, pregabalin, and oxycodone prescriptions are concerning and will increase iatrogenic harm from drug-related morbidity and mortality. More research is needed to understand the large variation in prescribing between general practices, and to develop and implement interventions to reduce unwarranted variation and increase the appropriateness of prescribing of these drugs.

Item Type:Evidence resource
Drug Type:Opioid, New psychoactive substance
Intervention Type:AOD disorder harm reduction
Date:September 2019
Volume:bjgpopen19X101662
EndNote:View
Subjects:B Substances > Opioids (opiates)
B Substances > New (novel) psychoactive substances > Gabapentinoids GABA (Pregabalin / Gabapentin)
E Concepts in biomedical areas > Substance by legal status > Prescription drug (medicine / medication)
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health care programme or facility > Community-based treatment (primary care)
P Demography, epidemiology, and history > Population dynamics > Substance related mortality / death
T Demographic characteristics > Doctor
VA Geographic area > Europe > United Kingdom > England

Repository Staff Only: item control page