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Off-label medication use.

Author(s): Howland RH.

Affiliation(s): University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. HowlandRH@upmc.edu

Publication date & source: 2012, J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. , 50(9):11-3

Prescribing medications for off-label uses is not illegal. Off-label prescribing includes using medications for unapproved indications; using a drug outside of the recommended dosage range or duration of use; using a drug in certain unapproved patient populations, such as those defined by age, sex, or particular clinical parameters; or intentionally using a medication in a patient who has a known contraindication. Medications would be considered appropriate for off-label use based on their known clinical pharmacology, evidence from clinical studies, and sometimes from the personal experience of the prescriber. The decision to use a drug off label should be based on a careful assessment of the patient's treatment history and the drug's potential risks and benefits. Patients should be given adequate informed consent about how the drug is being used off label and why, along with appropriate information about known risks and side effects.

Page last updated: 2013-02-10

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