Off-label drug use causing supply shortage for life-saving drugs

Using drugs to treat conditions they are not FDA approved for, known as off-label use, is exacerbating the drug shortage problem, according to a Kaiser Health News article published by The Washington Post.

One drug that is commonly tapped for off-label use is immune globulin, a drug derived from human plasma that helps fight infection. The drug is FDA approved for six conditions, some of which have no other available therapies and can be life-threatening.

While prescribing a drug off-label is legal and often leads to new and effective uses for drugs, a 2017 study published by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology found intravenous immune globulin is often prescribed for off-label conditions where it is ineffective and could actually increase risks to patients.

There was a 66 percent increase in distribution of intravenous immune globulin between 2012 and 2018 across North America and Europe because of an increase in off-label use, according to the report.

Hospitals and clinics nationwide have reported a shortage of the drug, and have had to ration or suspend treatment for many patients. Some facilities have stopped giving the drug to patients with diseases deemed to be non-life threatening and are saving the treatment for those who need it to stay alive.

Read the full report here.

More articles on pharmacy:

FDA approves first oral treatment for Type 2 diabetes

FDA finalizes rules to prevent improper petitions from delaying drug approvals

Pharmacists can play key role in preventing Hepatitis A outbreak

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars