News Headlines Article

How to Make the Most of Drugs We Already Have
New York Times

Though you may not have realized it, there’s a good chance that a doctor has prescribed you a medication for a use other than what it was approved for. This off-label use is perfectly legal, but isn’t as safe as it might be, in part because incentives to invest in costly clinical trials to test such uses are weak.

One out of five prescriptions is off-label. Some drugs, like those for cardiac conditions and anticonvulsants, are used off-label at a much higher rate. One study found that an average drug is used for 18 different conditions.