Background: Pregabalin is approved for the treatment of neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, and seizure disorders, although the pivotal trials were mostly carried out in Europe or North America. The prescribing patterns among different indications in Asia have rarely been explored. Methods: This was a population-based retrospective cohort study based on the National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan. Prescriptions of pregabalin were identified, and data regarding demographics, indications, co-existing diagnoses, and concomitant medications were extracted. Pregabalin users were followed for at least one year, and factors associated with persistence at one year were determined by using multivariate logistic regression analysis. Results: Between June 2012 and December 2016, 114,437 pregabalin users (mean age 60.7 ± 15.4 years, 57.8% female) were identified. The indications included post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) (30.5%), musculoskeletal diseases other than fibromyalgia (21.2%), fibromyalgia (18.4%), diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain (DPNP) (11.7%) and epilepsy (2.9%). Overall, 62.5% and 6.4% of patients achieved a maximum dose of ≥150 and ≥ 300 mg/day, respectively. The median duration of persistent pregabalin use was 28 days (interquartile range 14-118 days). The one-year persistence rate was 12.1%, and the indications associated with the highest and lowest persistence rates were epilepsy (42.4%) and PHN (6.1%), respectively. Male gender (odds ratio [OR] 1.14, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.09-1.18), older age (OR 1.01 per year, 95% CI 1.01-1.01), indications other than PHN, especially epilepsy (OR 8.04, 95% CI 7.33-8.81, PHN as reference), and a higher initial dose (OR 1.12 per 75 mg, 95% CI = 1.10-1.15) were associated with persistence at one year, whereas the initial concomitant use of antiviral agents decreased the likelihood (OR 0.41, 95% CI 0.35-0.47). Conclusions: Pregabalin prescriptions for pain disorders were limited to short-term use, which is consistent around the world. However, the average prescribed dose in Taiwan was lower than those in Western countries, and was frequently below the recommended ranges. Potential causes included the duration of natural history of PHN, and off-label prescriptions for pain in acute herpes zoster, rather than PHN, as well as intolerance to the side effects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas