Prescribing trends of gabapentin, pregabalin and oxycodone; a secondary analysis of primary care prescribing patterns in England
PHE ePoster Library. Green K. Sep 12, 2019; 274444; 239
Katlyn Green
Katlyn Green
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Abstract BackgroundThere have been recent concerns about the potential for the use, misuse and abuse of prescription drugs including gabapentin, pregabalin and oxycodone. Over recent years, an increase in deaths associated with these drugs in England has been observed. Aims & ObjectivesThis study sought to characterise general practice prescribing trends for gabapentin, pregabalin and oxycodone – termed dependence forming medicines (DFM) – in England and identify potential demographic characteristics associated with variation if found. MethodsPrescription data from five consecutive financial years (2013/14-2017/18) from general practices in England were aggregated and linked to practice demographics and other information. Longitudinal trends of prescribing, and variation in prescribing trends at practice and clinical commissioning group (CCG) level were analysed.
Annual prescriptions of gabapentin, pregabalin and oxycodone increased each year over the period. Higher prescribing rates per head were associated with greater GP practice deprivation quintile, where the most deprived quintile of GP practices prescribed 313% (p<0.001) and 238% (p<0.001) greater volumes of gabapentin and pregabalin per person than practices in the least deprived quintile. The highest prescribing CCGs were predominantly in northern and eastern regions of England.
Substantial increases in gabapentin, pregabalin and oxycodone prescriptions are concerning and may be associated with avoidable iatrogenic harm from drug-related morbidity and mortality. More research is needed to understand the reasons for the large variation in prescribing between practices, and to develop interventions to reduce unwarranted variation and thereby improve the appropriateness of DFM prescribing. External funding details This abstract presents independent research in part funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under the Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) programme for North West London. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.
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