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J Interv Cardiol. 2006 Oct;19(5):432-8.

Off-label use: an industry perspective on expanding use beyond approved indications.

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The use of a medical device outside of its approved label is commonly referred to as "off-label use." Off-label use arises when physicians see the opportunity to leverage an approved therapy for an unmet patient need. This practice typically occurs on a case by case basis without clear documentation of indication, frequency, or outcomes. Sponsors have a responsibility to consider formal indication expansion depending on the actual use, how well the therapy fits the unmet need, product iteration cycles, adoption speed, resource demands, and the clinical risk to benefit ratio. This responsibility is particularly relevant for breakthrough technologies where adoption patterns can span a variety of uses. For Boston Scientific's drug-eluting stent program, a surveillance program was developed in collaboration with the FDA to compile information on practice patterns and safety outcomes for the TAXUS Express2 Paclitaxel-Eluting Coronary Stent System. The ARRIVE program has used a Web-based format to collect real-time data on TAXUS stent use. This >7,000 patient registry documents both on-label and off-label use and key safety measures for the TAXUS stent. This real-world registry has successfully provided a data-driven approach to BSC's product development strategy, including the initiation of formal label expansion programs. For complex or combination products, more innovative ways of capturing risk to benefit data are needed to define off-label use and to maximize the potential therapeutic utility as supported by safety data.

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