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Off-Label Prescriptions of Medications Prompts Caution

Posted on in Drugs

Modafinil is a medication that was created to treat shift work sleep disorder, narcolepsy and excessive sleepiness during the day as created by sleep apnea. This drug is only approved by the FDA to treat those symptoms. It works in a similar manner as a stimulant but because its effects on the human bodies are different, it is often referred to as a “wakefulness promoting agent”.

Yet, there has been an alarming increase in the usage of Modafinil for off-label disorders such as multiple sclerosis and depression. This is according to a new study initiated by Dr. David Claman and other colleagues from the University of California in San Francisco. From 2002 to 2009, this team took data from national Modafinil prescriptions and came to certain conclusions.

The results were staggering as the amount of prescriptions grew from nearly 60,000 to over 550,000. People receiving this medication for off-label conditions caused 89% of the increase. The side effects of the medication include headaches, drowsiness, stomach issues and dizziness. There have also been some cases of serious allergic reactions to the liver.

“The nice thing about on-label use is at least it's a little better defined, what is the therapeutic benefit and what are the risks of side effects,” he said. Since the FDA has not approved of all uses of Modafinil, these kinds of prescriptions are therefore judgment calls by the doctors. If they are wrong, then unfortunately it means that the patients will suffer. If you have been affected by improperly prescribed medication or other medical malpractice, consult a skilled defective medical attorney in Crystal Lake.

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