Off Label Use of Drugs

Mental Illness and the use of off label drugs

I thought the following was an interesting article and worthy of posting; my husband suffers from chronic back pain and went in for an unrelated surgical procedure. For 8 weeks after the procedure he was free of back pain; we had suspected that the anesthetic (though a low dose for twilight sleep) was responsible for his freedom from pain.

Quite often, many drugs are discovered to address issues other than their intended use. We call this using drugs off label. For example; anti-seizure medications are used as mood-stabilizers, often anti-depressants are used to treat fibromyalgia; Vagal nerve stimulation used to control seizures are being used to control depression. Often hormones and other physical issues can be responsible for depression, anxiety, symptoms of bipolar disorder; a good psychiatrist will always screen to rule out these physical, hormonal or bodily injuries as the cause.

Patients with bipolar disorder who failed to find relief from their depression with other standard treatments experienced fast-acting relief from a single intravenous (IV) dose of a drug called ketamine (anesthetic drug), according to a new, small study.

Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md., found that ketamine, an anesthetic, improved symptoms of depression within 40 minutes of injection. The beneficial effects remained significant one day and even two days after the injection, suggesting that ketamine was both fast-acting and long-lasting, the authors report in the August issue of Archives of General Psychiatry. These results are noteworthy, the researchers say, since patients often experience a long lag between the time they take their depression treatment to the time they feel an improvement in their mood. Overall, 71% of the patients responded to the ketamine and reported an improvement in symptoms, compared with 6% of patients given a placebo. Read the entire article: Off Label Uses of Medications


This article is for informational purposes only and not to be used to diaganose or treat any mental illness