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Yale/VA Researchers Examine Gabapentin Side Effects

May 08, 2024

A new study led by researchers at VA Connecticut Healthcare Center and Yale School of Medicine's new Department of Biomedical Informatics & Data Science suggested potential side effects of gabapentin, a drug commonly used to treat and control partial seizures.

The research, published in Pain Medicine, used electronic health record data (EHR) from 2018 to conduct a retrospective national cohort study of U.S. veterans. The findings revealed that over 15 percent of enrolled VHA patients during this time were prescribed gabapentin. After adjusting for age and comorbidities, gabapentin exposure was significantly associated with hospitalization for all ages, even at low doses. The study warns clinicians who prescribe gabapentin to be aware of these patterns.

“We were impressed by the limited studies available on the odds of hospitalization for patients prescribed gabapentin, a medication with known side effects which I have seen first-hand as a physician,” said Deborah Levy, MD, MPH, lecturer at Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Biomedical Informatics & Data Science and first author of the study.

“Future work is needed to examine the causes of hospitalization associated with gabapentin exposure, and to explore which medications when used in combinations with gabapentin, may convey the highest risk.”

Cynthia A Brandt, MD, MPH, professor of biomedical informatics & data science at Yale School of Medicine, also contributed to the study. Other contributors included Kirsha S. Gordon, Lori A. Bastian, and Craig Gunderson.

Funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Office of Academic Affiliations, and Office of Research and Development, with resources and the use of facilities at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT.

Submitted by Akio Tamura-Ho on May 06, 2024