Prescribing of Gabapentinoids with or without opioids after burn injury in the US, 2012–2018

Efstathia Polychronopoulou, Yong Fang Kuo, Denise Wilkes, Mukaila A. Raji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Burn injury pain manifests as a combination of inflammatory, nociceptive, and neuropathic features. While opioids are the mainstay of burn pain management, non-opioid medications, such as gabapentinoids, have also been considered as they target the central nervous system. Increased opioid adverse events and overdose deaths in the United States led to the 2014 and 2016 guidelines to reduce opioid prescribing and consider alternatives, such as gabapentinoids. In the context of burn, the rate of gabapentinoid prescribing at the national level is unknown and it is unclear whether any shift has occurred in prescribing practices over time. We conducted a population level cohort study of adult burn patients from 2012 to 2018 to evaluate the rates and determinants of gabapentinoid prescribing, with and without opioids. Of 98,001 patients with burn, 22,521 (22.98%) received opioids and/or gabapentinoids (GABA). GABA represented 2.4% of prescriptions in 2012, but increased to 7.2% by 2018, while GABA-opioid co-prescriptions increased from 2.3% to 5.1%. The rate of increase in GABA prescriptions was higher for those aged 50–65 years or residing in the South. After adjustment, GABA was 44% more likely to be prescribed in 2017 and 2018 compared to 2012 and 2013, opioids were 38% less likely, while co-prescribing did not show a statistically significant change. Our study showed a modest increase in gabapentinoids’ outpatient prescribing for burn patients after the 2014 and 2016 guidelines, indicating more opportunities for prescribers to expand non-opioid pain management in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-302
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Burn injury
  • Gabapentin
  • Opioids
  • Pain management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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