Sociodemographic and clinical correlates of gabapentin receipt with and without opioids among a national cohort of patients with HIV

Benjamin J. Oldfield, Yu Li, Rachel Vickers-Smith, William C. Becker, Declan T. Barry, Stephen Crystal, Kirsha S. Gordon, Robert D. Kerns, Christopher T. Rentsch, Brandon D.L. Marshall, E. Jennifer Edelman

Publication Date: 09/10/2021

Gabapentin is commonly prescribed for chronic pain, including to patients with HIV (PWH). There is growing concern regarding gabapentin’s potential for harm, particularly in combination with opioids. Among PWH, we examined factors associated with higher doses of gabapentin receipt and determined if receipt varied by opioid use. We examined data from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study, a national prospective cohort including PWH, from 2002 through 2017. Covariates included prescribed opioid dose, self-reported past year opioid use, and other sociodemographic and clinical variables. We used multinomial logistic regression to determine independent predictors of gabapentin receipt. Among 3,702 PWH, 902 (24%) received any gabapentin during the study period at a mean daily dose of 1,469 mg. In the multinomial model, high-dose gabapentin receipt was associated with high-dose benzodiazepine receipt (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 95% confidence interval [CI]= 1.53, [1.03–2.27]), pain interference (1.65 [1.39–1.95]), and hand or foot pain (1.81, [1.45–2.26]). High-dose gabapentin receipt was associated with prescribed high-dose opioids receipt (2.66 [1.95–3.62]) but not self-reported opioid use (1.03 [0.89–1.21]). PWH prescribed gabapentin at higher doses are more likely to receive high-dose opioids and high-dose benzodiazepines, raising safety concerns.