Off-Label Prescribing and why it may matter to you
I learned a new term yesterday. Off-Label Prescriptions. It was kind of a new concept for me and one I had not considered in light of health challenges. Since I almost never have taken a prescription drug in my life, I was not aware of off-label prescribing.
As I understand it, a doctor goes “off-label” when they prescribe larger doses of a medicine than the label suggests or when they prescribe a medicine for a reason other than what it is typically prescribed to treat.
I have always been an advocate of informed healthcare. If you are not actively asking questions of your doctor and your pharmacist, about any prescription drug you are taking, you may be missing vital information that might matter to you.
I suggest education and pro-active partnership with all healthcare professionals to whom you entrust your health.
There are legal and ethic questions that are right to ask, about off-label prescriptions and the doctors who prescribe them. I’m not the only one asking questions about that. Here are a few of the questions that Ira Marxe, of Good Health Supplements, is asking:
- Are you an “off-label” guinea pig with your doctor?
- Quick Quiz: How many drug reps are there per physician?
- What three minutes causes you to pay 52 percent more for prescriptions?
- Why were a third of the negative antidepressant drug studies never published?
I would probably have stopped short of what Ira said too, yet I stand by insistence that a doctor should ALWAYS clearly tell the patient if prescribing higher than suggested dosage of anything and when prescribing a drug not suggested for the condition being treated.
I am well aware that off-label prescribing is common practice and considered by many to be a safe practice. I don't believe it is a safe practice and, were I being treated I would not want my doctor doing it.
Maybe, since off-label prescribing has been in the news so much in the past year or two, doctors aware of this new scrutiny may have started being more careful about informing patients of off-label decisions. That would be wonderful news indeed.
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