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How do I know when my child has been prescribed an off-label medicine?

You won’t, unless you ask your doctor or pharmacist. Or unless you check the package insert -- the printed, teeny, folded piece of paper that comes with the medication -- to see what and whom the drug has been approved to treat. The FDA is making these descriptions easier to read, but they are still a little academic for the average mom or dad. In the “Indications and Usage” section, you’ll see what ages and problems the medication is approved to treat. (Keep in mind we often prescribe medications off-label for conditions not included in the original FDA approval.) Also check out the “Highlights” section at the very end. It will give you a good summary of warnings and precautions, possible adverse reactions, drug interactions, and how to take the medicine (with liquids, without food, etc.). This section is pretty easy to understand.

From The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents

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The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents

What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do! "Moms and dads need expert guidelines, especially when it comes to their kids' health. This book reveals the inside strategies I use myself-I'm a parent,...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.