TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Off-Label Usage Study

The Post has a useful overview of a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine; the abstract is here.  Key parts:

Results  In 2001, there were an estimated 150 million (95% confidence interval, 127-173 million) off-label mentions (21% of overall use) among the sampled medications. Off-label use was most common among cardiac medications (46%, excluding antihyperlipidemic and antihypertensive agents) and anticonvulsants (46%), whereas gabapentin (83%) and amitriptyline hydrochloride (81%) had the greatest proportion of off-label use among specific medications. Most off-label drug mentions (73%; 95% confidence interval, 61%-84%) had little or no scientific support. Although several functional classes were associated with increased off-label use (P<.05), few other drug characteristics predicted off-label prescription.

Conclusions  Off-label medication use is common in outpatient care, and most occurs without scientific support. Efforts should be made to scrutinize underevaluated off-label prescribing that compromises patient safety or represents wasteful medication use.

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Tracked on Jan 26, 2007 11:13:20 AM


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