Opioids are a group of prescription drugs used to treat pain conditions; however the efficacy and safety of their use in treating chronic non-cancer pain has been widely questioned due to a lack of long-term studies, the availability of various opioid types and potencies on the market, and uncertainty on appropriate dosing. Given that Canada and the United States have the highest per capita consumption of opioids worldwide, this area required further evidence.
The ODPRN has conducted several population-based studies on the safe and appropriate use of opioids in Ontario by investigating the overall trends and geographic variation in opioid prescribing and related deaths, and the impact of policy and education interventions on important patient outcomes.
Despite gabapentin being generally perceived as safe, coprescription of opioids and gabapentin is known to increase the amount of these drugs absorbed by the body and the way in which these drugs affect the central nervous system. This can potentially lead to dangerous risks of overdose when these drugs are used together.
This study examined whether co-prescription of gabapentin and opioids was associated with an increased risk of accidental opioid-related death.