List Of Drugs Commonly Used Off Label
When doctors prescribe drugs for use other than those approved by the FDA, they are said to be off-label use of drugs. Most physicians prescribe drugs off-label and this is accepted as legal in the United States. Drugs with multiple uses can be used for treating patients without having to wait for years for research and studies to prove the same.
Some of the drugs that are often prescribed for off-label use include:
Examples of Off-Label Use
Aripiprazole (Abilify, antipsychotic)
|Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease|
|Albuterol (for asthma)||Bad coughs|
|Lamictal (antiepileptic, anti-seizure)||Depression, bipolar disorder, mood stabilization|
|Tiagabine (Gabitril, anti-seizure)||Depression, mood stabilization|
|Gabapentin (Neurontin, anti-seizure)||Depression, nerve pain, migraines|
|Topiramate (Topamax, anti-seizure)||Migraines, bipolar disorder, depression, nerve pain|
|Risperidone (Risperdal, antipsychotic)||Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, eating disorders|
|Lidoderm (skin patch for shingles)||Lower back pain, sore muscles, tennis elbow|
|Trazodone (Desyrel, antidepressant)||As a sleep aid and for insomnia|
|Propranolol (Inderal, high blood pressure and heart disease)||Performance anxiety|
|Modafinil (Provigil for excessive sleepiness)||To enhance wakefulness and alertness|
|Viagra (erectile dysfunction)||To enhance sexual performance in people not diagnosed with erectile dysfunction|
While off-label drug use has many positive reports, there are negative sides too. Use of aspirin for preventing a second heart attack and use of statins for lowering heart disease risk in diabetes are instances where off-label use of drugs has been tremendously successful. This is just one side of the story. There are instances where unapproved use of drugs have proved to be dangerous.
According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, of the 725 million prescriptions written in 2001,
- 21% were off-label drugs.
- 73% of the off-label drugs were prescribed for ailments that had no supporting scientific evidence.
The use of Aranesp, Procrit and Epogen for treating anemia caused by cancer is a glaring example of off-label drug use going wrong. Chemotherapy causes anemia in patients and these drugs were administered to improve energy levels. Very soon, doctors started prescribing these drugs to cancer patients who were not undergoing chemotherapy. The result was that cancer became worse in some patients and a higher death rate was observed.
Exercising caution is always advised where off-label drug use is concerned; a thorough information regarding the drug should be collected from the physician and the need for the use established prior to beginning with the treatment.