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Trends in Off-Label Use of Second-Generation Antipsychotics in the Medicare Population From 2006 to 2012.
The study evaluated trends in the off-label use of second-generation antipsychotics in the Medicare population, a practice that has been identified as lacking adequate supporting evidence for many indications.
Medicare claims data from 2006 to 2012 were used to identify beneficiaries who filled at least one prescription for any second-generation antipsychotic. Any use that was not associated with a medical claim for an approved indication in a given year was classified as off-label use. Rates of off-label use and of diagnoses associated with off-label use were compared over time. Fill counts standardized for 30-day supply and costs were compared by type of use.
On the basis of a sample of 490,314 patient-years, the rate of off-label use among beneficiaries prescribed a second-generation antipsychotic declined from 51% to 45%. Fill counts were 16% lower for off-label users compared with on-label users. Off-label users had higher out-of-pocket costs but lower total costs for second-generation antipsychotics. Off-label users most commonly had claims related to dementia, minor depression, anxiety disorders, and other psychosis. The proportion of off-label users without any claims for the most common off-label uses of second-generation antipsychotics declined from 45% in 2006 to 30% in 2012.
Off-label use of second-generation antipsychotics has declined, especially among persons without any of the common off-label conditions. The diagnoses accompanying off-label use did not systematically reflect changes in the evidence base for the use of these drugs, suggesting a mismatch between evidence supporting the use of off-label second-generation antipsychotics and prescribing practices.