Pharmacy World & Science

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 97–100 | Cite as

Off-label prescribing in a French hospital

  • Audrey Cras
  • Marie-Agnès Conscience
  • Gérald Rajzbaum
  • Agnès Lillo-Le Louët
  • Nathalie Lopez
  • Isabelle Tersen
  • Yvonnick BezieEmail author
Original Paper



In contrast to paediatrics patients, data concerning the extent of off-label prescribing for adult patients are limited. The aim of our study was to investigate the frequency of off-label drug use for adult patients in a French general hospital.


The study was conducted on a Wednesday in November 2004. Prescribing was prospectively assessed on the basis of conformity with the marketing authorizations.


A total of 1341 prescriptions for 192 hospitalized patients were analysed. Twenty three per cent of the prescriptions were off-label. Among all patients, 70% received at least one off-label medicine. Most off-label prescriptions were related to an unapproved indication (75%). The main other reasons were dosage (14%) and dosing schedule (9%). Anti-thrombotic and anti-ulcer agents were found on more than 40% of the off-label prescriptions.


Off-label prescriptions occur frequently in the hospital and often alternatives with the proper marketing authorizations are available. An increased involvement of hospital pharmacists should reduce the incidence of off-label prescribing and thus contribute to patient safety and possibly cost reduction.


Adverse drug reactions France Hospital Off-label prescribing Prescribing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Audrey Cras
    • 1
  • Marie-Agnès Conscience
    • 1
  • Gérald Rajzbaum
    • 2
  • Agnès Lillo-Le Louët
    • 3
  • Nathalie Lopez
    • 1
  • Isabelle Tersen
    • 1
  • Yvonnick Bezie
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Pharmacy DepartmentSaint-Joseph Hospital FoundationParisFrance
  2. 2.Rheumatology DepartmentSaint-Joseph Hospital FoundationParisFrance
  3. 3.Department of PharmacologyGeorges Pompidou European HospitalParisFrance

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