Nervous about giving a big presentation? Your doctor might prescribe a blood pressure drug like generic propranolol to calm you. Can’t sleep? You might leave the doctor’s office with a prescription for generic trazodone, an antidepressant often used for insomnia. But neither drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to solve these problems.
Doctors routinely (and legally) prescribe drugs “off label”—that is, for conditions not approved by the FDA—for any use they see fit. Most don’t tell their patients. (See our list of some drugs that are often prescribed off-label.)
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