Co-prescribing gabapentin with opioid painkillers ups risk of overdose by 49%

Anuja Vaidya (Twitter) - Print  | 

A new study, published in PLOS Medicine, examined the use of gabapentin along with opioid painkillers.

Researchers conducted a case-control study among people who were prescribed opioid analgesics in Ontario, Canada. They studied 1,256 opioid users who died of an opioid-related cause and compared them to 4,619 matched controls who also used opioids, but did not die of an opioid-related cause.

The study shows 12.3% of 1,256 opioid users were prescribed gabapentin in the prior 120 days, compared to 6.8% of the 4,619 controls. The researchers found  the combination of gabapentin and opioids was associated with a 49 percent higher risk of dying from an opioid overdose than by using opioids alone.

The study authors cited several limitations to the study, including the fact researchers could not assess drug adherence or account for drugs obtained outside the government reimbursement system.

More articles on opioids: 
Opioid-related ED discharges dip in last decade, but heroin discharges rise 
Washington state, Seattle file opioid lawsuits against drugmakers 
Florida governor to propose 3-day opioid prescription limits in 2018

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