Prescribing gabapentin off label: Perspectives from psychiatry, pain and neurology specialists

Can Pharm J (Ott). 2012 Nov;145(6):280-284.e1. doi: 10.3821/145.6.cpj280.


Objective: The objective of the study was to explore the experiences of physicians prescribing gabapentin off label.

Methods: We used a case study approach to explore the experiences of physicians prescribing gabapentin for off-label indications. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 physicians (psychiatry, pain and neurology specialists) in the Greater Toronto Area. Data were collected to the point of saturation of key themes and analyzed using interpretive content analysis.

Key findings: Key informants appeared to rely primarily on informal information from colleagues and meetings, putting into question the accuracy of their information about the potential off-label uses of gabapentin. Our findings suggest the need for more evidence-based information on off-label drug use.

Conclusion: There is a need for greater understanding of off-label prescribing practices as an important step toward improving rational prescribing and ultimately toward improving patient safety and health outcomes.