Retrospective Cohort Study of the Prevalence of Off-label Gabapentinoid Prescriptions in Hospitalized Medical Patients
Gabapentinoid prescriptions are increasing in North America, with frequent off-label use despite limited proven efficacy. This retrospective cohort study describes prescribing trends among hospitalized patients with a focus on dosing and deprescribing. We examined consecutive inpatients between December 2013 and July 2017 on a 52-bed medical unit in Montréal, Canada. Prevalence of off-label use, median doses prescribed, and deprescribing trends were analyzed over time. Of 4,103 hospitalized patients, 550 (13.4%) were prescribed gabapentinoids preadmission, with two patients being coprescribed gabapentin and pregabalin (total 552 prescriptions). A minority (94/552, or 17%) were for approved indications. Although it was uncommon for gabapentinoids to be newly prescribed in hospital, preadmission gabapentinoids were also seldom deprescribed (65/495 patients discharged alive, or 13%). Given a high prevalence of use, limited efficacy, and potential harms, gabapentinoids may represent an ideal target for re-evaluation of indication and effectiveness in hospitalized adults, with consideration given to deprescribing.