Consumption of Pain Medication in Patients With Cancer Has Doubled

Between 2005 and 2015, there has been a twofold increase in the trend of gabapentinoid medication use among U.S. adults with cancer, according to a study published in Supportive Care in Cancer.

Long-term gabapentinoid use for cancer-related pain can be problematic, according to the authors, due to its unclear mechanisms of action and potential for physical dependence.

The researchers conducted a serial, cross-sectional study using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and performed multiple logistic regression to examine the annual percentage of gabapentinoid users, adjusted for age, sex, and U.S. region of residence.

Increased use of gabapentinoid in 10-year span

The adjusted percentage of gabapentinoid users increased from 2.3% in 2005 to 5.6% in 2015, representing a 2.39-fold increase in pain medication use (P<0.001). In 2005, the number of gabapentinoid prescriptions was 1.19 million, which increased to approximately 3.52 million by 2015 (P<0.01).

“Investigations on the long-term efficacy of gabapentinoids for complex pain syndromes, and mitigation of risks, is essential to guide informed clinical management and keep patients safe,” the authors concluded.