Off-label (OL) drug use is the prescription of a drug for indications other than those authorised in its technical datasheet. The objective of this study was to identify drugs recommended in rheumatology but considered for off-label use in Argentina.
A list of medications for certain selected rheumatic conditions was compiled. A drug was considered recommended if it was endorsed by a) at least one Argentine or Pan-American treatment guideline or consensus, or b) two international treatment guidelines, or c) one international treatment guideline and one selected textbook. Approval of these drugs for any condition in Argentina until December 31st, 2018 was explored, and medicines were divided into those with on-label indications and those considered for OL use.
One hundred and thirty-six medications were analysed in 13 clinical conditions. Sixty-seven OL recommendations (49%) were found, and several drugs had more than one. All the conditions included the recommendation of at least 1 OL drug except osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. The frequency of OL recommendations for the following conditions was 100%: calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystal deposition disease, polymyalgia rheumatica, Sjögren syndrome, and systemic sclerosis. The drugs with the highest number of OL recommendations were methotrexate (in 7 conditions), and glucocorticoids and mycophenolate (in 4). There were 2 OL recommendations for rituximab and 1 for abatacept.
Almost all the rheumatic disorders analysed involved the recommendation of at least 1 OL medication, and in 4 conditions all the recommendations were OL. Most OL drugs recommended in rheumatology are neither biological nor small-molecule therapies.

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