September 2012 Advice - Quality Prescription Drugs (Can't read this? click here)
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When the FDA approves a drug for use, they look at what the drug does for specific conditions. But, medications are complex. They have "approved" uses and what are called "off-label" uses, too.

And on top of being complicated, new drugs fight disease in different ways. So, are new drugs better, or just different?

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In This Issue

1 in 5 Prescriptions Not FDA Approved

group of drugs gathered

You’ve been prescribed a medication by your doctor. Of course, it’s been approved for your specific condition, right?

Actually, sometimes no.

If you're like many other people, you probably don’t question the safety of a medication prescribed by your doctor. You assume that it’s designed to solve just what you have.

The truth is, more and more doctors are prescribing off-label medications without telling their patients.

What is an Off-label Medication?

An off-label medication is a drug prescribed with a dosage, form of dosage, or for a purpose that the FDA has not specifically approved of, yet.

Here are some examples:

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Are Newer Drugs Better?

bright purple test tube

Common sense tells us that a newer version of a product is usually better.

Older versions have kinks that need to be worked out. Newer versions are supposed to address these issues for a bigger, better product.

However, when it comes to drugs, some experts have been wondering whether “new and improved” is accurate.

Newer and More Expensive

Between newer and older drugs, newer drugs are usually much more expensive. Take a look at antipsychotic drugs for example. Haloperidol, an older antipsychotic, runs between $18 and $27 a month. A newer version antipsychotic olanzapine can get up to $546 a month.

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