Big Pharmaceutical Companies Don’t Want You to Watch This Video and Neither Does Your Grandma
Are Off-Label Drugs Ever OK?
Most doctors prescribe beta-blockers for high blood pressure, but you might be able to get some to calm stage fright. Although this is an off-label use—not the reason the drug was created—it's legit. "Even if it seems unusual to take a medication for a reason other than its FDA-approved purpose, as long as it's under a doctor's supervision, off-label uses can be incredibly helpful," saysPreventionadvisor Jennifer Reinhold, PharmD. Here, her take on some double-duty drugs.
Officially used to treat:High blood pressure, heart failure
Off-label use:Relieving performance anxiety
Why they work:Because these drugs affect the neurohormone norepinephrine, which sets off the fight-or-flight response, they can reduce physical symptoms of nervousness, such as rapid heartbeat, shaking hands, and sweating.
Tricyclic antidepressants(imipramine, desipramine)
Officially used to treat:Depression, anxiety
Off-label use:Helping neuropathic pain, reducing insomnia
Why they work:Their sedative effect makes these drugs useful for treating insomnia. "Tricyclics lessen our response to pain by modulating neurochemicals like norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin, which are closely involved in our response to painful stimuli," Dr. Reinhold says.
Anticonvulsants (valproate, topiramate)
Officially used to treat:Seizures
Off-label use:Stabilizing mood, easing migraines
Why they work:Antiseizure drugs prevent migraine pain, according to clinical studies. While researchers aren't sure why the drugs help balance mood and ease pain, Dr. Reinhold says it may be due to their ability to stabilize neurons (nerve cells) in the brain.
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