Emergency Service, Hospital/statistics & numerical data
Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data
Registries/statistics & numerical data
INTRODUCTION: Intentional drug overdose (IDO) is a significant public health problem. Concerns about the misuse of gabapentinoids, i.e. pregabalin and gabapentin, including their consumption in IDO have grown in recent years. This paper examines the trends in the prevalence of gabapentinoids taken in IDO, the profile of individuals taking them, and associated overdose characteristics. METHODS: Presentations to emergency departments involving IDO, recorded by the National Self-Harm Registry Ireland between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2015 were examined. Data items included patient demographics, drug names, total tablet quantity consumed and alcohol involvement. RESULTS: Gabapentinoids were involved in 2115 (2.9%) of the 72,391 IDOs recorded. Presentations involving a gabapentinoid increased proportionally from 0.5% in 2007 to 5.5% in 2015. The majority of IDOs involving a gabapentinoid were made by females (59.9%), with over one-third (37.2%) involving alcohol. Compared with IDOs involving other drugs, presentations with a gabapentinoid were made by persons who were older (median 37 vs. 32 years) and involved a significantly greater median quantity of tablets (30 vs. 21, p = 0.001), with over one-quarter (27.4%) of these involving the ingestion of 50 tablets or more. Admission to hospital was significantly more common following IDOs with a gabapentinoid compared with those without (49.4% vs. 41.4%, p = 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: This study identified the increasing use of gabapentinoids in IDO, describing the profile and overdose characteristics of presentations. It is important for clinicians to exercise vigilance while prescribing gabapentinoids, including being aware of other medications that their patients may have access to. Our findings support the need for routine monitoring for signs of misuse among those prescribed gabapentinoids.