Using Medication Off-Label and Why You Should Care

Think of the most recent pharmaceutical commercial you watched. Do you remember that list of possible side effects and complications you heard – everything from diarrhea to death? Believe it or not, any of those crazy side effects and complications are to be expected when a medication is prescribed “on-label,” or for a particular condition as approved by the FDA. Of course, medications can also be prescribed by your doctor for any number of conditions that are not specifically on that FDA approved list. In other words, medication can be prescribed “off-label,” and it probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that using any medication “off-label” can increase your risk of experiencing even more side effects outside of those crazy commercial lists.

Why it Matters:

Did you know that epidural steroid injections are one of the most common injections recommended for spinal pain? Over 9 million epidural steroid injections are given each year. That’s over 25,000 every day despite the fact that the use of spinal injections for pain has actually never been FDA approved. What’s more, nearly all medications prescribed by medical doctors are prescribed “off-label” at some point.

You might be asking yourself if chiropractic care FDA approved. Nope. The FDA has not evaluated chiropractic care because it is a natural form of hands-on care and not a food or drug. You can, however, look to prestigious organizations such as the American Pain Society and American College of Physicians when considering whether or not to add adjustments to your treatment plan. Both organizations have reviewed the research and support the use of chiropractic care as a safe and effective choice for pain relief!

▪    Over 9 million spinal injections are prescribed “off-label” each year as a treatment for back pain.

▪    A prescription is considered “off-label” when used for a condition not specifically approved by the FDA.

▪    Organizations like the American Pain Society and American College of Physicians have begun to support Chiropractic one of the best ways to treat spinal pain.

Next Steps:

Remember, part of being smart with your healthcare is weighing the risks and benefits. When deciding what route to take for treating your back pain, consider the research above, and be sure to share it with those you care about who might be struggling with back pain themselves. If you have any questions or want to learn more about how chiropractic care can relieve your pain, give us a call or stop in today.

Resources:

Spinal Manipulation Post-epidural Injection for Lumbar and Cervical Radiculopathy: A Retrospective Case Series. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. September 2004

Symptomatic MRI-Confirmed Lumbar Disk Herniation Patients: A Comparative Effectiveness Prospective Observational Study of 2 Age- and Sex-Matched Cohorts Treated with Either High-Velocity, Low Amplitude Spinal Manipulative Therapy or Imaging-Guided Lumbar Nerve Root Injections. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. May 2013

A Retrospective Analysis of Vertebral Body Fractures Following Epidural Steroid Injections. The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. June 2013

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