Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 5–8 | Cite as

Use of gabapentinoid medications among US adults with cancer, 2005–2015

  • Alex J. FauerEmail author
  • Matthew A. Davis
  • Sung Won Choi
  • Lauren P. Wallner
  • Christopher R. Friese



Gabapentinoid use for long-term cancer pain control may be problematic, given unclear mechanisms of action and increased concerns for physical dependence. The purpose of this report is to examine trends of gabapentinoid use among US adults with cancer from 2005 to 2015.


We conducted a serial, cross-sectional study using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). We performed multiple logistic regression to examine the annual percentages of gabapentinoid users, which were adjusted for age, sex, and US region of residence. The amount of gabapentinoid prescriptions filled in 2015 was also estimated.


The adjusted percentage of gabapentinoid users in 2015 was 5.60% (3.79%, 7.41%), 2.39 times greater than the percentage in 2005 (p < .001). By 2015, the number of gabapentinoid prescriptions had grown to approximately 3.52 million (2.40 million, 4.65 million).


We observed greater than a twofold increase in the trend of gabapentinoid medication use among US adults with cancer. Investigations on the long-term efficacy of gabapentinoids for complex pain syndromes, and mitigation of risks, is essential to guide informed clinical management and keep patients safe.


Cancer Supportive care Gabapentin Practice pattern 


Author contributions

Concept and design: Fauer, Davis, and Friese. Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: all authors. Drafting of the manuscript: all authors. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: all authors. Statistical analysis: Fauer and Davis. Administrative, technical, or material support: all authors. Supervision: all authors.

Funding information

Mr. Fauer is supported in part by a Doctoral Scholarship in Cancer Nursing (133507-DSCN-19-048-01-SCN) from the American Cancer Society; the Jonas Nurse Scholars Program; and the Hillman Scholars Program in Nursing Innovation. Research reported in this paper was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award number P30CA046592 (Friese).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

520_2019_5100_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 16 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of NursingUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Center for Improving Patient and Population HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Rogel Cancer CenterUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.Medical SchoolUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  5. 5.School of Public Health, Department of Health Management and PolicyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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