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What is off label prescribing of medication?

In addition to what they're commonly designed to treat, many medications have other uses and can help with other conditions. When medications are given that way, it's called off label prescribing. This way of addressing health conditions can be extremely helpful for some patients. However, it can also lead to dangerous problems that would not have come about if the medication would have been used for the condition it was intended to treat. Some off label uses are more commonly accepted than others, as well, and that can lead a doctor to offer medications that may or may not be effective or come with serious side effects.

Approved And Unapproved Off Label Prescribing

The most common definition of off label prescribing is using an FDA-approved medication for a health condition for which that medication has not specifically been approved. Using the medication in a dosage that's not approved or in a population the medication is not approved for (such as children) can also be considered off label usage. Physicians must be careful to obtain informed consent from their patients when they give an off label medication, because there can be side effects and other issues that the patient may not understand or be aware of otherwise. Failure to do so could result in a medical malpractice suit.

The Dangers Of Prescribing Off Label

Prescribing off label is very common, but can lead to serious health complications and even to deaths in some patients. Seeking treatment for a health problem can lead to patients doing their own research and asking for a particular medication they have heard or read about. At that time the doctor must decide whether they believe the medication's usage will be harmful to the patient, and some doctors will prescribe medications without realizing they are using the medication in an off label manner. That may mean they are not providing the correct duty of care for their patient, and that can result in being sued for failing to be sure that what they gave the patient in the way of medication was in that patient's best interest.

Do You Need A Medication Error Lawyer?

If you or a loved one have been prescribed an off label medication and have experienced serious side effects, or if a loved one has died, you may want to consult a medication error lawyer. Many doctors make medication errors, but when these errors are significant or turn tragic, it is important that proper compensation is paid to the patients who have been harmed. By talking to an attorney who is well-versed in medication error law, you may be able to receive compensation for the injuries sustained due to off label prescribing of medication.

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