Drugs off label

October 25, 2009 12:10:48 PM PDT
Taking risks and creating options when none seem to be left. When attorney Allison Keller learned she had multiple sclerosis a year ago, she armed herself for the battle ahead.

Allison keller, took off-label drug said: "I read the New England Journal Of Medicine, obviously highly-respected, and read that it basically had a 70-percent better rate than the top medicine out there."

"It" was a cancer drug being used to treat her disease. Allison sought the treatment from her doctor even though she didn't qualify for the trial.

Allison Keller, took off-label drug said: "It kind of struck us that if we want this, we're going to have to take some risks."

Daniel kantor, md, bsce, medical director said: "Now, we're taking a drug that's a little bit more dangerous, potentially, and we're using it off-label."

Allison's doctor is one of a growing number of physicians, prescribing drugs for conditions that the drugs are not FDA approved to treat.

Daniel Kantor, Md, Bsce, Medical Director said: "We're allowed to do that as physicians."

Drugs are often prescribed off-label for children and pregnant women because they're routinely excluded from trials. One recent study found the most common meds prescribed unsafely or ineffectively off-label were anti-depressants and anti-psychotics.

To keep yourself safe, ask your doctor if the benefits outweigh the risks and whether your insurance will cover it. Some doctors are prescribing a cocktail of off-label drugs called Prometa to treat alcohol and drug addictions. Critics say there's no sound scientific support.

John Mendelson, Md, Senior Scientist said: "There have only been a few published reports describing Prometa at all, and these reports are not what are called double-blind or placebo-controlled reports."

But former addict Matt McLellan says it's helped him stay sober for a year.

Matt McLellan, former drug addict said: "I think I'm just so blessed to have found a cure for this disease."

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