Opioid and gabapentinoid prescriptions in England from 2015 to 2020

Yixue Xia, Patrice Forget*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Concerns gradually arose about misuse of gabapentinoids (gabapentin and pregabalin), especially when used in combination with opioids. Because it can be a driver of usage, trends in prescribing habits may be interesting to analyse. The aim of this study is to examine the evolution of prescriptions of opioids and gabapentinoids in England from 2015 to 2020 at a regional level.

This study included data from April 2015 to February 2020, focusing on prescribing data, extracted the OpenPrescribing database. We described the evolution of the prescriptions of opioids and gabapentinoids and calculated their ratios for each month. We used Analyses of Variance (ANOVAs) to compare data between and within regions (over time).

During this period, opioid prescriptions remained stable (from -3.3% to +2.2%/year) and increased for gabapentinoids generally (from +1.5% to +2.2%). The ratio between gabapentinoid to opioid prescriptions increased by more than 20% in 2020 compared to 2015, variably between regions (F(6,406) = [120.2]; P
Gabapentinoids are increasingly prescribed in England. The ratio of gabapentinoid to opioid prescriptions in England increased from 2015 to 2020. The reclassification of gabapentinoids as controlled drugs, in 2019, may have been associated with a significant reduction, although larger prescribers may have been less influenced.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0276867
Number of pages10
JournalPloS ONE
Issue number11
Early online date28 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2022

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