Medication use is considered “off label” when it is prescribed to treat a condition or symptom for which it has not been formally approved by a regulatory agency, such as the FDA. A study published in The BMJ examined off-label indications for antidepressants in primary care offices in two major urban areas in Quebec and then assessed the level of scientific evidence supporting these indications. During the study period (2003 to 2015) over 100,000 antidepressant prescriptions were written by 174 primary care physicians for nearly 21,000 adults. Of all off-label prescriptions, only 16% had strong evidence for the respective indication, whereas 40% did not have strong evidence but another antidepressant in the same class did, and the remaining 44% lacked strong evidence as did other drugs in the class for the indication.
Link to The BMJ (2/2017)