Why Are Some Drugs Prescribed Off-Label?

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Why are some drugs prescribed off-label? What a pharmacist wants you to know:

The world of medications can be very confusing: there are hundreds of drugs, and many of them come in different names , various strengths, and multiple ways you could take them . To complicate matters even more, some drugs are sometimes prescribed for uses other than what the FDA has approved—a practice we medical folks call “off-label prescribing.” This can be very confusing for patients—especially if you are familiar with a drug being used for a specific purpose.

Before you start to worry, first understand that off-labeling prescribing is fairly common. In fact, between. That is as many as 1 in every 5 prescriptions. It is also completely legal to do so. According to the American Medical Association, once the FDA approves a drug for use in the United States, it may be used for any indication. However, this doesn’t mean your doctor is experimenting on you by prescribing you a drug off-label.

Also, off-label prescribing can be very effective in treating some conditions for which no drugs have been FDA-approved or limited treatment options exist. Doctors may prescribe a drug off-label because the way the drug works benefits another condition they are treating. This is what many doctors are doing now in response to. As you’ve probably heard, several medications used for other conditions are being studied to see if they are effective against virus.

Sometimes, doctors prescribe an off-label drug for its side effects. For example, the drug quetiapine is FDA-approved for schizophrenia and certain bipolar disorders, but because the drug causes extreme drowsiness, doctors sometimes prescribe the drug to help folks get a good night’s sleep.Perhaps the most famous—or infamous—example of off-label prescribing is gabapentin .

Source: Healthcare Press (healthcarepress.net)


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