Decision Resources, Inc., one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and health care issues, finds that fear of litigation is increasingly cited as a key reason physicians will not prescribe central nervous system (CNS) drugs off- label. According to a new PhysicianForum primary research report entitled Off- Label Use of CNS Drugs, the use of ethical pharmaceuticals in unapproved indications can account for 25% to more than 80% of a drug's total sales.

"For many CNS indications, off-label prescribing is quite significant," said Christine Blazynski, Ph.D., director at Decision Resources. "For example, approximately 80% of the uses of the antiepileptic drug Neurontin from Pfizer, and 60% of the uses of the antipsychotic Risperdal from Janssen Pharmaceutica, were for off-label indications."

According to the report, physicians are also aware of the controversy surrounding the purported marketing of Pfizer's Neurontin for unapproved indications, and several physicians specifically state that this controversy is a deterrent to their prescribing off-label.

Despite these reservations regarding off-label prescribing, a trend toward primary care physicians (PCPs) more readily prescribing off-label therapies is growing.

"Our study finds that PCPs often prescribe off-label to the same extent, or more frequently for some indications, than do psychiatrists. This [fact] is probably due to the PCPs' increased comfort based on familiarity from previous on- and off-label use," continued Dr. Blazynski.

Off-Label Use of CNS Drugs is based on a survey of 151 physicians: 49 are neurologists, 41 are psychiatrists, and 61 are PCPs. Their responses are compared to assess similarities and differences in clinical practice, and to discern relevant research factors that support off-label prescribing.

About PhysicianForum

PhysicianForum is a new primary research service from Decision Resources. The service offers access to high-volume prescribing PCPs, specialists, and managed care organization representatives in the United States; analysis of events and survey participants' responses to them; insight into prescribing patterns; and implications for the pharmaceutical market.

About Decision Resources

Decision Resources is a world leader in research publications, advisory services, and consulting designed to help clients shape strategy, allocate resources, and master their chosen markets. The company has provided strategic information services for 30 years, and assesses international pharmaceutical and health care industry trends. Visit Decision Resources at www.decisionresources.com.

All company, brand, or product names contained in this document may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

   For more information, contact:    Elizabeth Marshall    Decision Resources    781-296-2563    emarshall@dresources.com 

SOURCE: Decision Resources, Inc.

CONTACT: Elizabeth Marshall of Decision Resources, +1-781-296-2563,
emarshall@dresources.com

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