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Gabapentinoids (gabapentin and pregabalin) are widely used in clinical practice, but recent evidence indicates that they carry an increased risk of misuse. As healthcare professionals (HCPs) and policymakers plan different strategies to promote harm reduction, it is important to understand different interested party viewpoints. To explore prescriber, pharmacist, and drug policy expert (DPE) awareness, opinions, and experiences regarding gabapentinoid misuse. A qualitative description study using individual semi-structured virtual interviews was conducted between February and April 2021. Participants included prescribers (physicians, physician assistants [PA], or nurse practitioners [NP]) and pharmacists practicing in outpatient, ambulatory, or community-based healthcare settings; individuals with relevant drug policy expertise were also included. Qualtrics (Provo, Utah) and Zoom (San Jose, California) were used to facilitate quantitative (for initial screening and participant characteristics) and qualitative (interview) data collection. Data were coded and organized into themes in NVivo (QSR International; Burlington, Massachusetts) using thematic analysis steps. A total of 43 individuals participated in this study, including 16 (37.2%) pharmacists, 13 (30.2%) physicians, seven (16.3%) NPs, four (9.3%) DPEs, two (4.7%) pharmacist/DPEs, and one (2.3%) PA. Results were organized along four themes: (1) challenges/opportunities in gabapentinoid use; (2) gabapentinoid misuse awareness; (3) solutions to gabapentinoid misuse and (4) contributing barriers in pain management. Participants invoked different opinions in their consideration of gabapentinoid misuse, including the desire for harm reduction, the limitations of the current healthcare and insurance system, the lack of options for pain and substance use disorder treatment, and the influence of patient expectations. Gabapentinoid misuse was commonly framed in comparative fashion to ongoing concerns with opioids, and proposed solutions often focused less on regulatory control and more toward patient and HCP education and an overhaul of the health system approach to substance use and healthcare overall. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Jordan R Covvey, Michelle L Blakely, Reshmi Singh, Alyssa M Peckham, Kirk E Evoy. Pharmacist, prescriber, and drug policy expert opinions on gabapentinoid misuse. Research in social & administrative pharmacy : RSAP. 2023 Apr;19(4):599-609

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PMID: 36503683

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