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Gabapentinoid Use for Chronic Pain

Jan 31, 2024, 07:00 AM by SCOA

A new study, Signal detection of adverse events associated with gabapentinoid use for chronic pain," authored by Yong-Fang Kuo, Efstathia Polychronopoulou, and Mukaila A Raji has been published in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety.

This study investigated the potential side effects of a group of medications called gabapentinoids (GABA), which are sometimes prescribed for chronic pain as an alternative to opioids. The researchers compared the adverse effects of GABA with opioids and a control group of people who didn't use either type of medication.

They looked at a sample of Medicare enrollees who were diagnosed with chronic pain between 2017 and 2018. The study found that within three months of use, GABA users had higher rates of immune system disorders compared to those using opioids. Additionally, complications related to transplanted organs, mental health disorders like schizophrenia, skin disorders, and strokes were also more commonly reported in GABA users compared to opioid users or the control group.

The study suggests that while some side effects were expected and related to the neurological reasons for using GABA, there were also unexpected signals like strokes and certain cancers. These findings need further research to confirm and understand better. Overall, the study aims to help doctors make informed decisions about pain management by considering potential side effects of these medications.