Use of pregabalin in patients with painful neuropathic disorders under the care of general practitioners in the U.K

Pain Pract. Jan-Feb 2009;9(1):18-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1533-2500.2008.00226.x. Epub 2008 Oct 30.


Purpose: To examine the use of pregabalin in patients with painful neuropathic disorders under the care of general practitioners (GPs) in the U.K.

Materials and methods: Using a large U.K. database of GP encounters, we identified all persons aged > or = 18 years with at least one GP encounter with a diagnosis of a painful neuropathic disorder (eg, postherpetic neuralgia, diabetic peripheral neuropathy) between January 1, 2004 and July 31, 2006. Among these patients, we then identified those who initiated therapy with pregabalin; the date of initial receipt of pregabalin was designated the "index date." We then examined use of pregabalin over the 6-month period following this date ("follow-up"), as well as changes in the use of other pain-related medications (eg, opioids, tricyclic antidepressants [TCAs], other antiepileptics [AEDs]) between the 6-month period preceding the index date ("pretreatment") and follow-up. Patients with less than 6 months of pretreatment and follow-up data were excluded, as were those without any encounters during pretreatment for a painful neuropathic disorder.

Results: A total of 1,400 patients (1.4% of all identified patients with painful neuropathic disorders) initiated therapy with pregabalin and met all other entry criteria; mean age was 62 years, and 58% were women. During pretreatment, most (54%) patients received three or more different types of pain-related medications. During follow-up, patients averaged four prescriptions for pregabalin, totaling 93 therapy days. Compared with pretreatment, fewer patients received other pain-related medications during follow-up, including TCAs (37% during pretreatment vs. 27% during follow-up), opioids (64% vs. 55%), and AEDs other than pregabalin (36% vs. 16%) (all P < 0.01).

Conclusions: In the U.K., many patients prescribed pregabalin by their GPs may have been refractory to other pain-related medications. Use of these medications declined following initiation of pregabalin therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Utilization
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuralgia / drug therapy*
  • Physicians, Family / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregabalin
  • United Kingdom
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / therapeutic use


  • Analgesics
  • Pregabalin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid