The Use of Off Label Medications. I thought the following was an interesting article and worthy of posting; my husband suffers from chronic back pain and went in for an unrelated surgical procedure in Phoenix Arizona. For 8 weeks after the procedure he was free of back pain; we had suspected that the anesthetic (though a low dose for twilight sleep) was responsible for his freedom from pain. in a sense this was due to the use of off label medications.
The use of off label medications occurs in many medical specialties
Quite often, many drugs are discovered to address issues other than their intended use through the use of off label medications. We call this using drugs “obviously” off label. For example; anti-seizure medications are now also used as mood-stabilizers after a benefit in mood symptoms was found, often anti-depressants are used to treat fibromyalgia after it was discovered that patients who had both had relief of both types of symptoms; Vagal nerve stimulation used to control seizures are being used to control depression. Even though these medications or treatments were not used to treat mood symptoms, after benefits were discovered with them in other, areas and research was done to prove the benefits with these other illnesses, many are now FDA approved for these other indications. Often hormones and other physical issues can be responsible for depression, anxiety, symptoms of bipolar disorder; a good psychiatrist will always screen to rule out these physical, hormonal or bodily injuries as the cause. You should always tell your doctor what medications you are on and any changes in your health with the addition or subtraction of medications. the use of off label medications has opened the door to many further discoveries and in a sense, many drugs and therapies are discovered in a very similar manner. Often during clinical testing or by repeated use of a medication for its intended purpose, other benefits are found to accrue from the use of off label medications.
Anesthesia has been under study for the use of off label medications
Anesthetic Shows Promise for Bipolar Disorder
Single Injection of Ketamine Provides Relief From Depression in 40 Minutes
By Katrina Woznicki
WebMD Health News Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD Aug. 2, 2010 — Patients with bipolar disorder who failed to find relief from their depression with other standard treatments experienced fast-acting relief from a single intravenous (IV) dose of a drug called ketamine, according to a new, small study.
Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md., found that ketamine, an anesthetic, improved symptoms of depression within 40 minutes of injection. The beneficial effects remained significant one day and even two days after the injection, suggesting that ketamine was both fast-acting and long-lasting, the authors report in the August issue of Archives of General Psychiatry. These results are noteworthy, the researchers say, since patients often experience a long lag between the time they take their depression treatment to the time they feel an improvement in their mood. Overall, 71% of the patients responded to the ketamine and reported an improvement in symptoms, compared with 6% of patients given a placebo. – End of article Copyright ©2009, WebMD, LLC
If you ever have an experience whereby you believe that a medication that you are taking is positively or negatively effecting some other medical issue, please tell your doctor. You may even want to write the drug company. This is most often how these discoveries are made. The use of off label medications is a very interesting field of study and this approach might be responsible for the next great medical breakthrough.
This article regarding the use of off label medications is for general information only and not to be considered or used in diagnosing or treating any psychiatric illness.