(NEW YORK) -- An increasing number of drugs are being prescribed "off-label" after being approved for one use and proving to be useful for something else. Off-label use of medicines accounts for about one-fifth of all prescriptions, according to a past study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Viagra, for example, is a triple threat -- it's most commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction and is FDA-approved to treat pulmonary hypertension, but it can also be used to increase blood flow as a way to avoid amputations. And now, researchers may have found yet another use for the extremely popular drug: to help treat prostate cancer when used in combination with another cancer drug. There are other drugs that perform double duty, including a skin cancer cream used to smooth out your facial wrinkles, a baldness drug to protect against prostate cancer, and a drug for enlarged prostate and possibly prostate cancer that may stop baldness. Many of these off-label uses meet with controversy and questions about their value, particularly since the FDA has not yet approved the uses. As a result, drug companies cannot advertise off-label uses.
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