Prescribing Habits for Some Pain Meds Differ by Gender of Provider

(HealthDay News) — Male and female general practitioners (GPs) prescribe analgesics to older patients in a similar manner but differ in their prescribing habits for antineuropathic pain drugs and symptomatic slow-acting drugs for osteoarthritis, according to a study published online December 17 in Pain Medicine.

In a cross-sectional observational study, Aida Lazkani, PharmD, from the University Paris-Sud, and colleagues examined the relationship between GP gender and prescribing practice of chronic pain medications in older adults. Data were collected for 260 GPs, as well as 1,379 patients >65 years suffering from chronic pain.

The researchers found that for World Health organization step 1, step 2, and step 3 analgesics, there was no significant difference for female and male GP prescriptions. Compared with females, male GPs were more likely to prescribe antineuropathic pain drugs (11.3 vs. 4.8%; P=0.004) and less likely to prescribe symptomatic slow-acting drugs for osteoarthritis (10.2 vs. 18.8%; P=0.0003). These findings persisted after adjustment for several confounding variables (odds ratios, 2.43 [P=0.02] and 0.64 [P=0.03], respectively).

“Our results need to be confirmed in other pharmacoepidemiologic studies performed in different countries where prescribing practices might differ,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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