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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2019 Mar;43(3):522-530. doi: 10.1111/acer.13953. Epub 2019 Feb 3.

Association Between Gabapentin Receipt for Any Indication and Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Consumption Scores Among Clinical Subpopulations With and Without Alcohol Use Disorder.

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Veterans Aging Cohort Study Coordinating Center, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, Connecticut.
Department of Internal Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.
Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut.
Director of HIV/AIDS Research (KJB), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, Maryland.



Current medications for alcohol use disorder (AUD) have limited efficacy and utilization. Some clinical trials have shown efficacy for gabapentin among treatment-seeking individuals. The impact of gabapentin on alcohol consumption in a more general sample remains unknown.


We identified patients prescribed gabapentin for ≥180 consecutive days for any clinical indication other than substance use treatment between 2009 and 2015 in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study. We propensity-score matched each gabapentin-exposed patient with up to 5 unexposed patients. Multivariable difference-in-difference (DiD) linear regression models estimated the differential change in Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Consumption (AUDIT-C) scores during follow-up between exposed and unexposed patients, by baseline level of alcohol consumption and daily gabapentin dose. Analyses were stratified by AUD history. Clinically meaningful changes were a priori considered a DiD ≥1 point.


Among patients with AUD, AUDIT-C scores decreased 0.39 points (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.05, 0.73) more among exposed than unexposed patients (p < 0.03). Potentially clinically meaningful differences were observed among those with AUD and exposed to ≥1,500 mg/d (DiD 0.77, 95% CI 0.15, 1.38, p < 0.02). No statistically significant effects were found among patients with AUD at doses lower than 1,500 mg/d or baseline AUDIT-C ≥4. Among patients without AUD, we found no overall difference in changes in AUDIT-C scores, nor in analyses stratified by baseline level of alcohol consumption.


Patients exposed to doses of gabapentin consistent with those used in clinical trials, particularly those with AUD, experienced a greater decrease in AUDIT-C scores than matched unexposed patients.


Alcohol Use Disorder; Electronic Health Records; Gabapentin; Propensity Score

[Available on 2020-03-01]

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