Rising pregabalin use and misuse in Australia: trends in utilization and intentional poisonings
Cairns R., Schaffer AL., Ryan N., Pearson SA., Buckley NA.
Background and aims: Pregabalin is a gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) analogue, used to treat neuropathic pain and epilepsy. Pregabalin was registered in Australia in 2005, and subsidized publically in 2013. We aimed to describe Australian patterns of pregabalin use and intentional poisoning, and identify people potentially at high risk of misuse. Design and setting: Population-based retrospective cohort study of dispensings in the 10% sample of Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (July 2012–February 2017); intentional poisoning calls to New South Wales Poisons Information Centre (NSWPIC) (2004–2016); intentional poisonings in two Australian toxicology service databases; and poisoning fatalities in NSW coronial records (2005–2016). Participants: A total of 122 572 people dispensed pregabalin, people with intentional pregabalin overdoses managed by NSWPIC and the toxicology services and pregabalin-associated deaths referred to the NSW coroner. Measurements: Trends in dispensing, poisoning, death; demographics and patient characteristics, proportion of users at high risk of misuse (latent class analysis, LCA) and characteristics of high-risk users. Findings: Pregabalin dispensing increased by 73 424 per year [95% confidence interval (CI) = 61726–85 121 P