We are seeing a trend in which doctors are increasingly prescribing private label topical drugs for the treatment of chronic pain. Awareness of these expensive and clinically unproven products is becoming increasingly important due to their potential safety and cost implications.

What are they?

Differing from custom compounds, private label topicals are similar to over-the-counter (OTC) topical products, with varying formulations that are not clinically tested for either safety or efficacy. Private-label topical analgesics are not recommended according to evidence-based guidelines and they are not approved by the FDA.

From a clinical perspective, private-label topicals offer no greater benefit to the patient than over-the-counter (OTC) alternatives found in national retail chains and in most cases they are significantly more expensive. The potential cost per prescription is disproportionately high with prices points upwards of several hundred dollars yet these drugs being dispensed by physicians and small, independent pharmacies for the treatment of pain when comparable OTC alternatives such as IcyHot® or BenGay typically retail for less than $10.

Curbing the Issue

When recommending any topical product, whether prescription or OTC, physicians must consider patient safety and evidence-based guidelines. More appropriate, less costly alternative treatment strategies may be available for the effective treatment of pain.  ANS Pharmacotherapy Review can help uncover and address private label drug prescription practices. For more information contact us today.