Off-label prescribing in a French hospital
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In contrast to paediatrics patients, data concerning the extent of off-label prescribing for adult patients are limited. The aim of our study was to investigate the frequency of off-label drug use for adult patients in a French general hospital.
The study was conducted on a Wednesday in November 2004. Prescribing was prospectively assessed on the basis of conformity with the marketing authorizations.
A total of 1341 prescriptions for 192 hospitalized patients were analysed. Twenty three per cent of the prescriptions were off-label. Among all patients, 70% received at least one off-label medicine. Most off-label prescriptions were related to an unapproved indication (75%). The main other reasons were dosage (14%) and dosing schedule (9%). Anti-thrombotic and anti-ulcer agents were found on more than 40% of the off-label prescriptions.
Off-label prescriptions occur frequently in the hospital and often alternatives with the proper marketing authorizations are available. An increased involvement of hospital pharmacists should reduce the incidence of off-label prescribing and thus contribute to patient safety and possibly cost reduction.
KeywordsAdverse drug reactions France Hospital Off-label prescribing Prescribing
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