Healthcare News & Insights

Study: Docs confused about certain med uses

Turns out, doctors aren’t as up-to-date as they think they are on off-label uses of prescriptions — which could lead them to order treatments they wouldn’t otherwise.

A recent survey of nearly 1200 primary care physicians and psychiatrists presented them with 22 pairs of medications and asked them to identify which one was FDA-approved for a specific on-label use.

The researchers found that overall the doctors were able to correctly distinguish between the on-label and off-label applications for the drug just over half the time. Psychiatric drugs were the most likely to be misidentified.

Of course, all the drugs were FDA-approved, so the risk to patients is minimal. But the physicians’ confusion raises questions about whether doctors are administering the most effective and/or cost-efficient medication to patients.

The study was published in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety.

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