Recent prescription status of oral analgesics in Japan in real-world clinical settings: retrospective study using a large-scale prescription database

Background: Information on prescriptions of oral analgesics for the treatment of pain is beneficial. However, there have been few reports on the prescription status of oral analgesics from a nation-wide, large-scale prescription database in Japan.

Research design and methods: The authors analyzed the prescription data of 2,042,302 patients prescribed oral analgesics in 2017. The numbers/proportions of patients prescribed oral analgesics, adherence with approved doses, co-prescription patterns, dose changes, drug adherence, and treatment-discontinuation rates were evaluated.

Results: Loxoprofen was prescribed to 32.5% of the patients, followed by celecoxib, prescribed to 16.0% of patients. Acetaminophen and pregabalin were prescribed to 10.5% and 9.4% of patients, respectively. Many analgesics were prescribed at lower doses than the approved doses. The most frequently used concomitant medication was pregabalin. For duloxetine and pregabalin, high proportions of patients were prescribed these drugs for > 90 days.

Conclusions: Loxoprofen was the most prescribed of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in Japan. The information obtained provides an overview of prescribed oral analgesics in Japan and could be useful for potential research into prescribed oral analgesics in the future.