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Let’s talk about unlicensed / licensed / Off-label medications
As doctors are we legally allowed to prescribe all of them? Absolutely! So, what are unlicensed, off-label and licensed medications? There is a good explanation from Oxford University NHS trust.
The bottom line is unlicensed medications don’t have a license in the UK, but sometimes their use is justified, for example, in oncology or for rare diseases.
Off-label medications do have a license, but to treat a different health condition.
For example, you go through your menopause and have very low testosterone. You have no sex drive or will to live. In this case, your GP will prescribe you testosterone, which is licensed for men, but your dose will be much lower. This will be your off-label medication.
Now let’s talk about weight loss injectable medications.
There are currently 2 types of “skinny jabs” available on the UK market – one is called Saxenda (licensed) and another one Ozempic/ Semaglitide), off-label for obesity, but licensed for diabetes.
Why would we choose off-label for obesity Semaglutide over licensed Saxenda?
So, we choose off-label Semaglitide because it is more effective, comfortable to administer and safe.
Lastly, let’s talk about when we should use only licensed medication.
Correct, Botulinum toxins for cosmetic use. There are currently only 4 licenced medications available on the market- Azzalure, Botox, Bocouture and very recently launched Alluzience. Nothing else should be used.
However, did you know that botulinum toxin is not licensed to be used in the lower face for cosmetic purposes? Are we still legally allowed to lift corners of your mouth or treat the smoker’s lines above the lip? Don’t worry, we can, as an off-label treatment.