Prescription drugs are often prescribed for uses other than what the FDA has approved. Find out why.
The next time your doctor writes you a prescription, consider this: The medication may not be approved for your specific condition or age group.
But you probably shouldn't call the medical board.
The practice, called "off-label" prescribing, is entirely legal and very common.
More than one in five outpatient prescriptions written in the U.S. are for off-label therapies.
"Off-label" means the medication is being used in a manner not specified in the FDA's approved packaging label, or insert. Every prescription drug marketed in the U.S. carries an individual, FDA-approved label. This label is a written report that provides detailed instructions regarding the approved uses and doses, which are based on the results of clinical studies that the drug maker submitted to the FDA.