Off label medication use (Non FDA or other country regulatory agency approved) discussion - abstracted references:
Brosgart, C. L., T. Mitchell, et al. (1996). "Off-label drug use in human immunodeficiency virus disease." J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol 12(1): 56-62.
We wished to determine the extent to which drugs used to treat HIV disease and its clinical manifestations are prescribed for conditions other than those listed on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approved drug label, how such "off-label" use varies by patient characteristics and type of HIV-related medical condition, and the extent to which physicians alter the way they treat HIV-related conditions because of reimbursement problems associated with off-label drug use. We surveyed 1,530 primary care providers for people with HIV disease between February and May 1993. A three-part survey instrument was used to obtain data on the drugs prescribed for the last three patients with HIV disease treated by the provider, the preferred choice of therapy for 32 specific HIV-related conditions, and the extent to which providers faced reimbursement problems regarding the use of drugs for off-label indications. Three drug compendia were used as cited sources of off-label drug uses. In all, 387 (32%) evaluable surveys were returned, yielding data on 1,148 patients. The majority (81%) of patients received at least one drug off-label, and almost half (40%) of all reported drug therapy was off-label. Most off-label drug use was for treatment and prevention of HIV-related opportunistic infections, which frequently represented the community standard of practice (e.g., trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole for prevention of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia), or the de facto standard of practice when no licensed therapies were available (e.g., drugs for treatment of Mycobacterium avium complex, MAC). More than 75% of off-label usage was cited in at least one of the three authoritative medical compendia. The use of drugs for off-label indications in HIV care is common and frequently represents community standards of care. Reliance on drug compendia for support of off-label drug use accounts for the majority of such uses, although many legitimate off-label uses may not be included because of compendia publication lag. The prevalence of off-label drug use in routine clinical practice and the development of newer and more costly drugs for treatment of HIV and its medical complications argues for the articulation of an explicit national reimbursement policy for off-label uses of prescription drugs so that medically appropriate therapies will be available to those with insurance in a rational, consistent way.
Conroy, S., I. Choonara, et al. (2000). "Survey of unlicensed and off label drug use in paediatric wards in European countries. European Network for Drug Investigation in Children." Bmj 320(7227): 79-82.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the extent of use of unlicensed and off label drugs in children in hospital in five European countries. DESIGN: Prospective study of drugs administered to children in general paediatric medical wards over four weeks. SETTING: Children's wards in five hospitals (one each in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands). Subjects: Children aged 4 days to 16 years admitted to general paediatric medical wards. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Proportion of drugs that were used in an unlicensed or off label manner. RESULTS: 2262 drug prescriptions were administered to 624 children in the five hospitals. Almost half of all drug prescriptions (1036; 46%) were either unlicensed or off label. Of these 1036, 872 were off label and 164 were unlicensed. Over half of the patients (421; 67%) received an unlicensed or off label drug prescription. CONCLUSIONS: Use of off label or unlicensed drugs to treat children is widespread. This problem is likely to affect children throughout Europe and requires European action.
Gazarian, M., M. Kelly, et al. (2006). "Off-label use of medicines: consensus recommendations for evaluating appropriateness." Med J Aust 185(10): 544-8.
Off-label prescribing is the prescription of a registered medicine for a use that is not included in the product information. The practice is common, with rates up to 40% in adults and up to 90% in paediatric patients. Off-label prescribing is not illegal and may sometimes be clinically appropriate, but is associated with a number of clinical, safety and ethical issues. To date, no explicit guidance has been available to help clinicians assess appropriateness in off-label prescribing. We describe the development of a guide for clinicians, policymakers and funders of health care in evaluating the appropriateness of medicines proposed for off-label use. Three broad categories of appropriate off-label use are identified:off-label use justified by high-quality evidence; use within the context of a formal research proposal; and exceptional use, justified by individual clinical circumstances. An appropriate process for informed consent is proposed for each category. If there is no high-quality evidence supporting off-label use, and the medicine is not suitable for exceptional or research indications, its use is generally not recommended. This will reduce inappropriate use, enhance patient safety by reducing exposure to unnecessary risk, and may stimulate more clinically relevant medicines research.
Khamar, B. (2007). "Off-label use of medicines: medical research and medical practice." Indian J Ophthalmol 55(6): 411-2.
Rayburn, W. F. and K. C. Farmer (1997). "Off-label prescribing during pregnancy." Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am 24(3): 471-8.
Obstetricians frequently prescribe drugs for indications other than those on the product label. Reasons for such off-label use during pregnancy include prevention of repetitive abortion, inhibition of premature labor, reduction of fetal or neonatal infection, reduction in development of preeclampsia and its complications, and ripening of the cervix or induction of labor. A physician has a legal right to prescribe for off-label indications despite regulatory, manufacturer, and cost constraints. Such prescribing habits would not be considered experimental if based on sound scientific evidence. Adequate and well-controlled studies are difficult, however, to perform during pregnancy. Evidence of widespread use and support from another qualified clinician are methods of justifying off-label prescribing. Each patient is entitled to know why she and her fetus would benefit from the treatment and whether any unnecessary risk is anticipated. Legible documentation of these discussions in the medical records is important.
Shah, S. S., M. Hall, et al. (2007). "Off-label drug use in hospitalized children." Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 161(3): 282-90.
OBJECTIVES: To describe the magnitude of off-label drug use, to identify drugs most commonly used off-label, and to identify factors associated with off-label drug use in children hospitalized in the United States. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. SETTING: Administrative database containing inpatient resource utilization data from January 1 to December 31, 2004, from 31 tertiary care pediatric hospitals in the United States. PARTICIPANTS: Hospitalized patients 18 years or younger. MAIN EXPOSURES: Institution and patient characteristics. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Off-label drug use was defined as use of a specific drug in a patient younger than the Food and Drug Administration-approved age range for any indication of that drug. RESULTS: At least 1 drug was used off-label in 297 592 (78.7%) of 355 409 patients discharged during the study. Off-label use accounted for $270 275 849 (40.5%) of the total dollars spent on these medications. Medications classified as central or autonomic nervous system agents or as fluids or nutrients, or gastrointestinal tract agents were most commonly used off-label, whereas antineoplastic agents were rarely used off-label. Factors associated with off-label use in multivariate analysis were as follows: undergoing a surgical procedure, age older than 28 days, greater severity of illness, and all-cause in-hospital mortality. CONCLUSIONS: Most patients hospitalized at tertiary care pediatric institutions receive at least 1 medication outside the terms of the Food and Drug Administration product license. Substantial variation in the frequency of off-label use was observed across diagnostic categories and drug classes. Despite the frequent off-label use of drugs, using an administrative database, we cannot determine which of these treatments are unsafe or ineffective and which treatments result in substantial benefit to the patient.
Tomaszewski, C. (2006). "Off-label: just what the doctor ordered." J Med Toxicol 2(3): 87-8.