Author Topic: Study, Nov/22:Off-label use of antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers  (Read 352 times)


The full title of this German study is "Off-label use of antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood-stabilizers in psychiatry".


Off-label drug prescribing in psychiatry is increasing. Many psychotropic drugs are approved for psychopathologic syndromes rather than based on international standard diagnostic classification systems which might facilitate the clinical decision for off-label prescriptions. The objective of this study was to analyze the prevalence and category of off-label use of psychotropic drugs. The study was conducted in 10 psychiatric hospitals in Germany over a period of 2 years. Prescription data of all patients were retrospectively analyzed after identification of antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood-stabilizers, which were classified as off-label according to the German prescribing information and diagnostic classification according to ICD-10. In total, 53,909 patient cases (46% female) with a mean age of 46.8 (SD: 18) years were included in the study. 30.2% of the cases received at least one off-label prescription of a psychotropic drug during hospital stay. Off-label prevalence rates differed markedly between different diagnostic groups (ICD-10 F0/G3: 47%, F1: 33%, F2: 25%, F3: 21%, F4: 27%, F6: 46%, F7: 84%). The most often off-label prescribed drugs were quetiapine and mirtazapine for organic mental disorders (F0/G3), valproate and quetiapine in patients with disorders due to psychoactive substance use (F1), valproate in patients with psychotic disorders (F2), and risperidone and olanzapine in patients with affective disorders (F3). The prevalence rate of psychotropic off-label prescriptions is high if restricted to product description and ICD-10 diagnosis. Therefore, current psychiatric guidelines should drug-specifically issue this problem by defining psychiatric off-label indications based on a clear benefit-risk assessment.

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