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Papers of the Week

Papers: 13 Jun 2020 - 19 Jun 2020

Pharmacology/Drug Development

2020 May

Br J Pain



Gabapentinoids: pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and considerations for clinical practice.


The gabapentinoids are often recommended as first-line treatments for the management of neuropathic pain. The differing pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic profiles can have implications for clinical practice. This article has summarised these key differences. In addition to their use in managing neuropathic pain, gabapentinoids are increasingly being used for off-label conditions despite the lack of evidence. Prescription rates for off-label conditions have overtaken that for on-label use. Similarly, the use of gabapentinoids in the perioperative period is now embedded in clinical practice despite conflicting evidence. This article summarises the risks associated with this increasing use. There is increasing evidence of the potential to cause harm in vulnerable populations such as the elderly and increasing prevalence of abuse. The risk of respiratory depression in combination with opioids is of particular concern in the context of the current opioid crisis. This article describes the practical considerations involved that might help guide appropriate prescribing practices.