Q: What should I expect to be told about any newly prescribed
A: When it comes to medication, what you don’t know can definitely
hurt you. Almost half of all Americans regularly take at least one prescription
drug, and half of older patients take three or more, according to a report
released in by the National Center on Health Statistics. But doctors don’t
always communicate critical information about the drugs they prescribe. And
prescription drug misuse is a growing problem, contributing to thousands of
deaths each year.
The next time your doctor writes you a prescription, consider this: The
medication may not be approved for your specific condition or age group.
But you probably shouldn't call the medical board. The practice, called
"off-label" prescribing, is entirely legal and very common. More than one
in five outpatient prescriptions written in the U.S. are for off-label
"Off-label" means the medication is being used in a manner not specified in
the FDA's approved packaging label, or insert...