The Use of Neuropathic Pain Drugs in Children With Sickle Cell Disease Is Associated With Older Age, Female Sex, and Longer Length of Hospital Stay

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Although neuropathic pain is increasingly recognized in sickle cell disease (SCD), it is unknown how neuropathic pain drugs are used in children with SCD. Thus, we investigated use of these drugs and hypothesized older age and female sex are associated with increased neuropathic drug use and the use of these drugs is associated with longer length of stay. We analyzed the Pediatric Health Information System (2004 to 2009) including all inpatient visits aged 0 to 18 years with any SCD-related (all genotypes) discharge diagnosis. To limit confounding we excluded psychiatric and seizure visits. Antiepileptics, tricyclic antidepressants, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors were drugs of interest. Generalized Estimating Equations determined the impact of age and sex on neuropathic drug use and the impact of neuropathic drug use on length of stay. We analyzed 53,557 visits; 2.9% received≥1 neuropathic drugs. The odds of receiving a neuropathic drug increased significantly with age (reference group, 0 to 4 y: 5 to 10, odds ratio [OR], 5.7; 11 to 14: OR, 12.5; 15 to 18: OR, 22.8; all P<0.0001] and female sex (OR, 1.5; P=0.001). Neuropathic drug use was associated with longer length of stay (risk ratio, 8.3; P<0.0001). Neuropathic drug use in children with SCD was associated with older age, female sex, and longer length of stay.

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