Year of Publication

2018

College

Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Sarah Wackerbarth, PhD

Committee Member

Moaz Abdelwadoud, MD, DrPH, MPH

Committee Member

Terry Bunn, PhD

Committee Member

Tisha Johnson, MD, MPH

Abstract

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant and nerve pain medication with a variety of offlabel indications. There is at least some evidence that physicians have prescribed gabapentin to successfully treat several off-label conditions including alcohol dependence and withdrawal, brachioradial pruritus, chronic, refractory cough, diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, hiccups (singultus), hot flashes, insomnia, neuropathic pain, adjunct therapy for postoperative pain, restless legs syndrome (RLS), anxiety disorders, and uremic pruritus.

An observational cross-sectional study was used to determine the various reallife off-label uses of gabapentin and physicians’ perspectives with regard to particular advantages over other drugs and interventions, via an online survey. In addition, a secondary objective was to determine physicians’ perspectives regarding whether gabapentin is being misused. The most common off-label indications for prescribing gabapentin for Family Medicine and most other physicians surveyed were neuropathic pain, diabetic neuropathy, and fibromyalgia. Psychiatrists most commonly prescribed gabapentin for anxiety disorders and insomnia. With respect to misuse and overdose, six Emergency Medicine physicians felt that gabapentin was not leading to increased overdoses and/or intoxications while three felt that it was.

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