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Background: In 2013 pregabalin was subsidised by Australia′s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for neuropathic pain.Since the subsidy, pregabalin prescribing has been increasing in Australia and so has related harm.There are concerns it is being prescribed for indications other than neuropathic pain, which have little evidence of efficacy.Aim: To describe pregabalin prescribing in Australian general practice.Design & setting: A cross-sectional study of patients attending 445 general practice sites in the national MedicineInsight database from March 2012–February 2018.Method: The following aspects were calculated: the proportion of prescriptions that were for pregabalin per year; the prevalence of pain conditions in patients prescribed pregabalin; and same-day prescribing of pregabalin with opioids or benzodiazepines.Results: Prescribing increased from 13 per 10 000 to 104 per 10 000 prescriptions between 2012– 2013 and 2017–2018.A total of 1 891 623 patients were identified of whom 114 123 (6.0%) were prescribed pregabalin; 49.7% (n = 56 772) had a recorded diagnosis of neuropathic pain.Among people prescribed pregabalin without a recorded diagnosis of neuropathic pain, 43.5% (n = 24 927) had a diagnosis of back problems, 8.8% (n = 5073) chronic pain, and 26.4% (n = 30 146) had no pain diagnosis.Pregabalin was prescribed the same day as an opioid to 38.1% of patients (95% confidence interval [CI] = 37.1% to 39.1%) and a benzodiazepine to 13.1% of patients (95% CI = 12.5% to 13.7%).Patients with a diagnosis of chronic pain had the highest rate of same-day prescribing of pregabalin with an opioid (70.4%, 95% CI = 68.9% to 71.9%) or a benzodiazepine (25.8%, 95% CI = 24.2% to 27.4%) Conclusion: Substantial increases in pregabalin prescribing were identified in Australian general practice, but only half of patients had a neuropathic pain diagnosis recorded, the only approved indication for subsidy.High rates of same-day prescribing with opioids and benzodiazepines may put patients at increased risk of harm.

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