The Benefits of Off-Label Drug Prescription and Use

Dr. Edward Tobinick, founder of the Institute for Neurological Research, conducted the initial clinical work that found etanercept to be an effective treatment for sciatica and other forms of intervertebral disc-related neuropathic pain. Edward Tobinick has published multiple articles in the medical literature and reviewed research findings as an ad hoc reviewer in leading medical journals, including Brain Research and Experimental Neurology, among others.

When a doctor prescribes a medication for a purpose other than those specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is known as off-label drug use. This practice is very common among medical practitioners; 20 percent of outpatient prescriptions in the U.S. are off-label.

Some drugs have multiple beneficial uses. For example, oncologists often prescribe certain off-label drugs to treat different types of cancers. Off-label use is also common in the treatment of heart disease: beta-blockers are FDA approved to combat high blood pressure, but cardiologists often use them to treat heart failure.

Off-label use enables doctors to apply their deep knowledge of the various uses and methods of action of prescription drugs, in some cases resulting in more effective care for patients. Off-label use also allows for clinical innovation and the possibility of important medical discoveries.