OFF LABEL USE – TROUBLE AGAIN
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/15/AR2006121501514.html?nav=hcmodule My friends at the Washington Post published an article this week about an antibiotic used to treat pneumonia. The side effects are so severe however, that the FDA has voted against the drug’s use for less threatening illnesses, such as bronchitis. Well – this raises an interesting point (and one we have discussed on the blog before)…. Off label uses of prescription drugs. You have bad skin, and the dermatologist suggests birth control to level your hormones…. A teenager experiences social anxiety, and they give her a medication that has only been tested by the FDA and drug companies, on adults.
Clearly it is a good thing that physicians are trying to do what is best for their patients, but when they have NO research to go on comparing patients and the effects of a medication for any ailment, disease or illness other than the one approved, then I proffer that prescribing should be done with some hesitation. Maybe our doctors should be required to say to their patients – “I think that this medication will be successful for you, but I should warn you, there are no studies on the side effects” or “no studies on its effectiveness for your specific illness.” It may encourage patients to become more proactive, and at the very least, think about what pills they are putting in their bodies.