Off-Label Gabapentin Use Up Despite ‘Dearth of Evidence’

The use of gabapentinoids by adults in the United States has increased to 4.7% in 2021 from 4% in 2015, with many of the drugs being prescribed off label for chronic pain conditions despite minimal evidence supporting their use. The study, which analyzed data from the 2002-2021 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, found that use of gabapentin has increased since 2008, while use of pregabalin has remained steady. The most common conditions for which these drugs are being prescribed include musculoskeletal pain, diabetes, anxiety, insomnia, and low back pain. The study also identified concerns regarding the co-prescribing of gabapentinoids with other central nervous system depressants, which can cause life-threatening breathing difficulties. The researchers suggested that the continuation of gabapentinoid use should be reconsidered at regular intervals.

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