Antidepressant and anticonvulsant prescription rates in patients with osteoarthritis: A population-based cohort study

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Abstract

Objectives: There are signs that antidepressants and anticonvulsants are being prescribed more often for OA patients, despite limited evidence. Our objectives were to examine prescription rates and time trends for antidepressants and anticonvulsants in OA patients, to assess the percentage of long-term prescriptions, and to determine patient characteristics associated with antidepressant or anticonvulsant prescription.

Methods: A population-based cohort study was conducted using the Integrated Primary Care Information database. First, episodic and prevalent prescription rates for antidepressants (amitriptyline, nortriptyline and duloxetine) and anticonvulsants (gabapentinoids) in OA patients were calculated for the period 2008-17. Logistic regression was used to assess which patient characteristics were associated with prescriptions. 

Results: In total, 164 292 OA patients were included. The prescription rates of amitriptyline, gabapentin and pregabalin increased over time. The increase in prescription rates for pregabalin was most pronounced. Episodic prescription rate increased from 7.1 to 13.9 per 1000 person-years between 2008 and 2017. Amitriptyline was prescribed most (15.1 episodic prescriptions per 1000 person-years in 2017). Prescription rates of nortriptyline and duloxetine remained stable at 3.0 and 2.0 episodic prescriptions per 1000 person-years, respectively. For ≤3% of patients with incident OA, medication was prescribed long-term (≥3 months). In general, all medication was prescribed more frequently for older patients (except duloxetine), women, patients with OA in ≥2 joints, patients with spinal OA and patients with musculoskeletal disorders. 

Conclusion: Prescription rates of amitriptyline, gabapentin and pregabalin increased over time. Since there is little evidence to support prescription in OA, caution is necessary when prescribing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2206-2216
Number of pages11
JournalRheumatology (United Kingdom)
Volume60
Issue number5
Early online date11 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Rheumatology.

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