Please fill your 3-month assessment

Hey , To better understand your specific needs and goals, and ensure we prescribe the most suitable plan for you, please complete the assessment.
Start assessment

Off-Label Drug Prescriptions: What You Need to Know


The medicines we rely on every day to treat countless conditions, from minor aches and pains to hormone imbalances, cancer, and heart failure, are constantly undergoing refinement and development as new scientific breakthroughs are made. While it's easy to assume that each medication serves a single purpose, it’s often the case that the same medicine can treat multiple conditions simultaneously. For example, simple aspirin can relieve minor aches and pains, reduce fevers, and lower the risk of heart attacks and blood clots.

Prescribing a drug licensed for one purpose to treat another, separate condition is known as off-label use. In this article, we'll dive into the world of off-label drug prescriptions, exploring what they are and why they are an essential aspect of modern medical treatment.

What does off-label drug use mean?

All drugs intended for use in the U.S. must first receive approval from the FDA. This requires drug manufacturers to undergo a rigorous procedure, demonstrating that their medicine is both safe and effective for a particular condition before receiving a license. Once approved, healthcare providers are authorized to prescribe the drug for that specific, FDA-approved use.

When a doctor prescribes a medicine for something that the drug was not licensed for, this is called "off-label use." Off-label use includes using a drug licensed for one condition to treat something else, or it could be as simple as prescribing a different dosage to a different type of patient demographic. For example, prescribing adult medication to a child could be considered off-label use. 

It's important to note that off-label use is a common practice and does not mean "unapproved use." In fact, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, one in five prescriptions today are for off-label use.

Are off-label prescriptions legal?

Off-label prescriptions are entirely legal in the United States. The FDA's approval process focuses on the initial intended use of a medication, but it does not prohibit or regulate the practice of using approved drugs for other purposes. Healthcare providers have the authority and discretion to prescribe medications off-label based on their clinical judgment and the best interests of their patients.

This means that doctors are immediately able to take advantage of new uses for approved medications without waiting for that drug to go through another round of FDA approvals. This gives the medical community the ability to react quickly to new information while still prescribing medication that has been rigorously vetted and proven safe for use. Sometimes, the off-label use of a drug is so effective that it becomes the standard of care for a particular condition.

Who can prescribe a drug for off-label use?

Any healthcare professionals who are licensed to prescribe medication to patients can prescribe medicine for off-label use. This includes physicians, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists. The decision to do so will be based on their medical experience and the patient’s current health and medical history.

Best practice guidelines state that medical prescribers should think carefully about off-label prescriptions and use them only in the best interests of the patient and when there is not a better, approved medication available. Although the FDA does not regulate how medical providers choose to prescribe medication, pharmaceutical companies are prohibited from promoting a medication for off-label use. 

What restrictions surround off-label drug prescriptions?

There are no specific restrictions preventing licensed prescribers from approving medication for off-label use in the United States. The FDA does not regulate the practice of medicine and defers to the opinions of medical professionals about what is best for their patients. However, insurance companies may refuse to cover certain medications for off-label use without prior authorization, and the FDA may stop off-label drug use if done as part of a research trial.

Patients should advocate for themselves when receiving any new prescription and ask questions about why their physician is prescribing a particular medication.

Is off-label drug use safe?

Doctors should carefully evaluate every new prescription to decide if it is right for a patient, whether that prescription is for an approved or off-label use. This typically involves an assessment of the patient’s medical history, current medications, and any previous known interactions. During FDA licensing, drugs undergo trials to understand what the side effects and potential complications may arise during use, and this helps doctors understand if that drug is right for a particular patient or not.

When a healthcare provider prescribes a medication off-label, it's therefore based on substantial medical evidence and the provider's professional experience. In fact, many off-label uses have been thoroughly researched and are supported by clinical data. When used under a doctor's supervision, off-label use can be just as safe as taking any other medication.

How common is off-label prescribing?

Off-label drug use is incredibly common. Many well-known medications are prescribed off-label to treat conditions beyond their original approval. For instance, certain antidepressants may be prescribed to manage chronic pain, and drugs approved for one type of cancer may show efficacy in treating a different form of the disease.

Examples of Common Off-Label Drug Use








Blood sugar management

Polycystic ovary syndrome


Seizure control

Obsessive-compulsive disorder



Bell’s palsy


Blood sugar management

Weight loss

Does Qyral prescribe drugs for off-label use?

Qyral collaborates with licensed physicians who, when deemed medically appropriate, may prescribe certain medications for off-label use. A notable example is tirzepatide, a dual GLP-1/GIP receptor agonist typically employed to manage type 2 diabetes by regulating blood sugar. Interestingly, it has also demonstrated potential in aiding weight loss when integrated into a healthy lifestyle.

As with any other prescription, the doctors Qyral partners with will carefully evaluate each patient to determine if an off-label drug is right for them. To avoid potential adverse reactions or side effects, it’s essential that patients give prescribers a clear picture of their medical history.

How do Qyral doctors decide if a patient is a good candidate for an off-label prescription?

Our partner physicians are experienced, licensed prescribers who carefully evaluate each new patient to ensure that they are a suitable candidate for the medications Qyral offers. Unfortunately, not every medication is suitable for every patient, and it’s important to reduce the risk of an unwanted side effect or interaction in order to protect the patient’s health.

Qyral telehealth services are no different to any other medical consultation, and no patient is guaranteed to receive a prescription if the doctor feels it is not appropriate for them. However, Qyral will work with all customers to try to find them the best treatment plan to help them reach their health and weight loss goals.

Are there any risks associated with off-label drug use?

As with any medical intervention, there are potential risks associated with off-label drug use. However, as with prescribing any new medication, these risks are carefully evaluated by healthcare professionals before making a decision. Prescribing a medication for off-label use is not inherently any more risky than prescribing for an approved use, as the medication has already been tested and proven safe for use under medical guidance.

In general, the potential benefits of treating a specific condition with an off-label drug often outweigh the associated risks. However, patients should always inform their physician immediately if they experience any unexpected side effects.

Final thoughts

Off-label drug prescriptions might initially seem confusing or concerning, but they are a well-regulated and essential aspect of modern medical practice. Countless individuals have benefited from off-label prescriptions, which have provided safe and effective treatment options for conditions that might otherwise lack approved medications.

back to blog