Gabapentinoids, commonly used for treating neuropathic pain, may be misused and coprescribed with opioid and benzodiazepine, increasing the risk of mortality and dependency among kidney transplant recipients.
We identified adult kidney transplant recipients who enrolled in Medicare Part D in 2006–2017 using the United States Renal Data System/Medicare claims database. We characterized recipients' post-transplant concomitant prescription of gabapentinoids, opioids, and benzodiazepine stratified by transplant year and recipient factors (age, sex, race, and diabetes). We investigated whether concomitant prescriptions were associated with postkidney transplant mortality using Cox regression. Models incorporated inverse probability weighting to adjust for confounders.
Among 63,359 eligible recipients, 13% of recipients filled at least one gabapentinoid prescription within 1 year after kidney transplant. The prevalence of gabapentinoid prescriptions increased by 70% over the study period (16% in 2017 versus 10% in 2006). Compared with nonusers, gabapentinoids users were more likely to have diabetes (55% versus 37%) and obesity (46% versus 34%). Of the 8509 recipients with gabapentinoid prescriptions, 45% were coprescribed opioids, 7% were coprescribed benzodiazepines, and 3% were coprescribed both opioids and benzodiazepines. Compared with no study prescriptions, gabapentinoid monotherapy (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR]=1.25; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.16 to 1.32) and combination therapy (gabapentinoids and opioids [aHR=1.49; 95% CI, 1.39 to 1.60], gabapentinoids and benzodiazepines [aHR=1.46; 95% CI, 1.03 to 2.08], and coprescribing all three [aHR=1.88; 95% CI, 1.18 to 2.98]) were all associated with a higher risk of postkidney transplant mortality.
Gabapentinoid coprescription with both benzodiazepines and opioids among kidney transplant recipients increased over time. Kidney transplant recipients prescribed gabapentinoids had a higher risk of post-transplant mortality, and the risk was higher with opioids or benzodiazepine coprescription.