Patterns of gabapentinoid use among long-term opioid users

Jordan Westra, Mukaila Raji, Jacques Baillargeon, Rajender R. Aparasu, Yong Fang Kuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Understanding the clinical and demographic profile of patients on gabapentinoids can highlight areas of prescribing disparities, inform clinical practice, and guide future research to optimize effectiveness and safety of gabapentinoids for pain management. We used a national sample of Medicare beneficiaries to examine trends, patterns, and patient-level predictors of gabapentinoid use among long-term opioid users. Methods: Using a national Medicare sample between 2014 and 2020, we examined factors associated with gabapentinoid use among long-term opioid users. We included Medicare eligible long-term opioid users with no prior gabapentinoid use. The primary outcome was gabapentinoid use after the long-term opioid use episode. Logistic regression was used to test the association with gabapentinoid use for year, age, sex, race/ethnicity, region, Medicare entitlement, low-income status, frailty, pain locations, anxiety, depression, opioid use disorder, and opioid morphine milligrams equivalent. Results: Gabapentinoid use among long-term opioid users increased from 12.6% in 2014 to 16.8% in 2019 (p < .0001). Factors associated with increased gabapentinoid use were Hispanic ethnicity, back pain, nerve pain, and moderate or high opioid usage. Factors associated with decreased gabapentinoid use were older age and Medicare entitlement due to old age. Conclusions: Variation of gabapentinoid use by socio-demographics and insurance status indicates opportunities to improve pain management and a need for shared therapeutic decision making informed by discussion between pain patients and providers regarding safety and effectiveness of pain therapies. Our findings underscore the need for future research into the comparative effectiveness and safety of gabapentinoids for non-cancer chronic pain in various subpopulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108046
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - Aug 2024


  • Frailty
  • Gabapentinoids
  • Medicare
  • Opioids
  • Pain
  • Prescriptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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