What Are Off-Label Prescriptions?
Off-label prescriptions are medicines prescribed by doctors that are used to treat symptoms of diseases or syndromes not meant for their intended use. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) requires that a prescription drug have a list of its approved uses on the label. Medicines that are taken for other purposes, with the guidance of a doctor, are considered “off-label”.
Is Off-Label Drug Prescribing OK?
The prescribing of off-label drugs to patients to treat symptoms not listed is a legal practice. Most people consider it to be safe, since a doctor may only do it because he or she knows the side effects, dosage requirements, and ingredients of the medicine.
Why is Off-Label Drug Prescribing so Popular?
The practice of off-label prescribing is so popular because of the reason it is done. The FDA approves medicine based on research that a medicinal company pays for. Usually, a drug company will only do research on their product to state its intended purpose. To prove that a drug has additional purpose takes more research. The FDA cannot approve a drug for a specific use if there is no evidence to support the claims. Little funding in research by medicinal companies is the upbringing of off-label drug prescribing. If a doctor knows that a certain drug may help a patient even though it is not approved for the symptoms that the patient is showing, they might prescribe it because it may help regardless of what the FDA has recorded.
Medicinal Areas Off-Label Prescribing is Common:
Children: Many drugs are prescribed off-label to kids because the FDA has only approved the drug’s use in adults. This is caused by little research in children studies and limited research funding by medicinal companies.
Cancer: Cancer patients are often prescribed off-label medicines because the FDA has only approved a specific medicine to one type of cancer. Many cancer patients battle multiple types of cancers at the same time. Some medicine is prescribed off-label to be used congruently to get the best possible effect, yet is not recommended on the prescription labels.
Insomnia: Doctors will sometimes prescribe drugs with a label use listed for anxiety and depression to patients with trouble sleeping. This usually only happens if other drugs have failed to perform the desired effects. These drugs tend to leave patients feeling tired and drowsy, so their side effects help a patient diagnosed with insomnia.
Help with the Cost of Off-Label Prescriptions:
Insurances differ in their policies on covering off-label prescriptions. Check with your insurance provider about your prescription coverage. If you don’t have insurance or your medical insurance doesn’t cover your prescription costs, the RX Helper was created for you!
We provide a Prescription Assistance Program for clients who cannot afford their medications or have little insurance coverage. Contact us today or call us at 888-233-4303 to see if you qualify for our program.