University of Oulu

Juuso Peltokorpi, Helinä Hakko, Pirkko Riipinen & Kaisa Riala (2021) Profile of Substance Misuse among Adolescent and Young Adult Gabapentinoid Users: A Register-Based Follow-up Study of Former Adolescent Psychiatric Inpatients, Substance Use & Misuse, 56:5, 598-605,

Profile of substance misuse among adolescent and young adult gabapentinoid users : a register-based follow-up study of former adolescent psychiatric inpatients

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Author: Peltokorpi, Juuso1; Hakko, Helinä2; Riipinen, Pirkko1;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Clinical Neuroscience, Psychiatry, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Psychiatry, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-05-14


Aims: Our study examined characteristics of adolescent and young adult study participants using gabapentinoids (gabapentin, pregabalin), with previous history of adolescent psychiatric inpatient hospitalization. Particular focus was on temporal association of age, at first prescription for gabapentinoids, to age at tobacco smoking initiation, regular alcohol use, diagnosis of substance dependence and prescriptions for benzodiazepines and opioids.

Methods: The initial study population contained 508 adolescents (300 females, 208 males) admitted to psychiatric inpatient care in Oulu University hospital between the ages 13–17 years. Register-based follow-up information on prescriptions for gabapentinoids, benzodiazepines and opioids, as well as ICD-10 diagnosis for hospital-treated substance dependence, was obtained from the Finnish national health care registers.

Results: The users of gabapentinoids accounted for 9.1% of the initial study population. Of adolescence-related characteristics, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and non-suicidal self-injury was emphasized in females using gabapentinoids. The majority of participants using gabapentinoids had benzodiazepines (80.4%) and opioids (71.7%) as comorbid drugs. Initiation of tobacco smoking and alcohol use and first prescriptions for of benzodiazepines and opioids, and a diagnosis of substance dependence commonly predated first prescriptions for gabapentinoids.

Conclusions: In clinical practice, the decision to prescribe gabapentinoids to adolescents or young adults must be made with caution, particularly for those with substance use problems and/or without a clinically approved indication.

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Series: Substance use & misuse
ISSN: 1082-6084
ISSN-E: 1532-2491
ISSN-L: 1082-6084
Volume: 56
Issue: 5
Pages: 598 - 605
DOI: 10.1080/10826084.2021.1883662
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3124 Neurology and psychiatry
Funding: This work received support from The Alma and K.A. Snellman Foundation, Oulu, Finland.
Copyright information: © 2021 The author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.