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Indication (medicine)

In medicine, an indication is a valid reason to use a certain test, medication, procedure, or surgery.[1] An indication can commonly be confused with the term diagnosis. A diagnosis is a particular [medical] condition while an indication is a reason for use.[2]

The opposite of an indication is a contraindication,[3] a reason to withhold a certain medical treatment because the risks of treatment clearly outweigh the benefits.

Contents

DrugsEdit

Most countries and jurisdictions have a licensing body whose duty is to determine whether to approve a drug for a specific indication, based on the relative safety of the drug and its efficacy for the particular use. In the United States, indications for medications are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and are included in the package insert under the phrase "Indications and Usage". The European Medicines Agency (EMA) holds this responsibility for centrally authorized drugs in the European Union.

Label Indications vs. Off-Label IndicationsEdit

In the United States there are label indications and off-label indications[4]

Label indications:

Medication that have label indications mean that they were approved by the FDA. This means that they are clinically significance for the indication and manufacturers are allowed to market their drug for the indication.[4] A drug can have more than one FDA labeled indication, this means they can be used for multiple medical conditions.[5] As the evidence and consensus for use of the drug increases and strengthens, its class of indication is improved.[6] Preferred drugs (and other treatments) are also referred to a "first line" or "primary" while others are called "second line", "third line" etc.[7][8] A drug may be indicated as an "adjunct" or "adjuvant", added to a first line drug.[9]

Off-label:

Off-label indications are drugs that are used for medical indications that have not been approved by the FDA. Off label indications often have some clinical significance to back the use, but they have not gone through the extensive testing required by the FDA to have an official labeled indication. Drug companies can not provide any official medication information (e.g package inserts) for off label indications. [4]

FDA approvalEdit

The purpose for adding FDA-approved indications in the United States is to ensure that healthcare providers can easily identify appropriate use of drug therapy.[10] Gaining FDA approval is based on the body of scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of a drug treatment. The scientific evidence is gathered in the first 3 steps in the drug development process: discovery and development, pre-clinical research (testing safety), and clinical research (testing efficacy)[11]. After there is adequate completion of research and development phases by the drug companies, they send a New Drug Application (NDA) for approval to the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) and the proposed scientific evidence for use in an intended population is evaluated by a team of physicians, statisticians, chemists, pharmacologists, and other scientists.[12][13] Essentially, if it is found that there is substantial evidence that benefits of treatment outweigh the risks, the proposed labeling in the package insert is appropriate, and the manufacturing process is safe and adequate, then the drug is approved to go to market under that now FDA-approved indication.[14] Even after approval, the FDA CDER continues to do postmarking surveillance of the drug through MedWatch and FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS).[15]

Effect on Drug PricingEdit

Indications can impact pricing of medications through Value-based Pricing, also known as indication specific pricing or indication value-based pricing.[16] Since drugs can be used for different indications, this form of pricing would set different prices for each indication based on the value the drug offers for whatever it is being used to treat.[16] This pricing scheme is often discussed in relation to oncology drugs, which are costly and not always successful in treating patients.[16] Oncology drugs can be used for multiple different types of cancers so by applying indication-specific pricing, the drug would be priced based on how effective it is for treating each type of cancer. If the drug is more effective for Cancer A than Cancer B, then the patient taking the drug to treat Cancer A will pay more than the person using it for Cancer B because they are getting more value out of it.[16] Currently, most medications in the United States are priced the same regardless of what they're being used for or how effective they are in improving outcomes.[16] Companies like CVS and Express Scripts in the US have discussed pricing based on indication[17] and in countries like Italy, similar forms of pricing are already being used.[16][18] For many hospitals in Italy, the amount the hospital pays for oncology drugs varies based on what it's used for and how effective it is for that patient.[18] If the patient does not benefit from the treatment, there are reimbursement programs in place to refund the patient.[18]

Incorporating Indication of Use on Prescription Drug LabelsEdit

There has been some thought on incorporating the indication of use on prescription drug labels as an approach to improve patient understanding of the medications they are on. This information can help healthcare providers reduce medication errors related to drugs that may look and sound alike.[19] Knowing the indication of the drug can also help providers determine if the dose of the drug is appropriate per indication, and this can greatly improve patient safety and drug effectiveness.[19]

However, there are still some challenges with incorporating the indication of use on prescription drug labels. Revealing the indication of use on prescription drug labels can breach patient confidentiality since the label will disclose private information publicly.[20] Some medications can also be used for multiple diseases and one disease may have multiple medications for its prevention or treatment, therefore adding an indication on prescription labels in these cases may cause some confusion and may not be able to actually fit onto the label.[20]

Medical testsEdit

Each test has its own indications and contraindications, but in a simplified fashion, how much a test is indicated for an individual depends largely on its net benefit for that individual, which largely depends on the absolute difference between pre- and post-test probability of conditions (such as diseases) that the test is expected to achieve. Additional factors that influence a decision whether a medical test should be performed or not include: cost of the test, time taken for the test or other practical or administrative aspects. The possible benefits of a diagnostic test may also be weighed against the costs of unnecessary tests and resulting unnecessary follow-up and possibly even unnecessary treatment of incidental findings.[21] Also, even if not beneficial for the individual being tested, the results may be useful for the establishment of statistics in order to improve health care for other individuals.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Indication - Medical Definition and More from Merriam-Webster". Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  2. ^ "What's the Value of the Drug Indication? | Clinical Drug Information". www.wolterskluwercdi.com. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  3. ^ "Contraindication - Medical Definition and More from Merriam-Webster". Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  4. ^ a b c "Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved by MedicineNet.com". MedicineNet. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  5. ^ Salmasian H, Tran TH, Chase HS, Friedman C (November 2015). "Medication-indication knowledge bases: a systematic review and critical appraisal". Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA. 22 (6): 1261–70. doi:10.1093/jamia/ocv129. PMC 5009909. PMID 26335981.
  6. ^ "Off-Label Use - MeSH Result". Medical Subject Headings. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  7. ^ "second-line drug". TheFreeDictionary.com. Retrieved 2016-04-20.
  8. ^ "NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms". National Cancer Institute. Retrieved 2016-04-20.
  9. ^ "adjunct". The Free Dictionary.
  10. ^ "Indications and Usage Section of Labeling for Human Prescription Drug and Biological Products — Content and Format" (PDF). fda.gov. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  11. ^ Commissioner, Office of the. "The Drug Development Process". www.fda.gov. Retrieved 2018-11-17.
  12. ^ Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Development & Approval Process (Drugs)". www.fda.gov. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  13. ^ Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "New Drug Application (NDA)". www.fda.gov. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  14. ^ Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "New Drug Application (NDA)". www.fda.gov. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  15. ^ Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Surveillance - Postmarketing Surveillance Programs". www.fda.gov. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  16. ^ a b c d e f Pearson SD, Dreitlein B, Henshall C. Indication-specific pricing of pharmaceuticals in the United States health care system: a report from the 2015 ICER Membership Policy Summit. Boston: Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, March 2016.
  17. ^ "Indication-Specific Drug Pricing – Simple in Theory, Complex in Reality". Managed Care magazine. 2018-05-06. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  18. ^ a b c Flume M, Bardou M, Capri S, Sola-Morales O, Cunningham D, Levin LA, Touchot N (January 2016). "Feasibility and attractiveness of indication value-based pricing in key EU countries". Journal of Market Access & Health Policy. 4 (1): 30970. doi:10.3402/jmahp.v4.30970. PMC 4864834. PMID 27226845.
  19. ^ a b Schiff GD, Seoane-Vazquez E, Wright A (July 2016). "Incorporating Indications into Medication Ordering--Time to Enter the Age of Reason". The New England Journal of Medicine. 375 (4): 306–9. doi:10.1056/nejmp1603964. PMID 27464201.
  20. ^ a b "The Case for Indications on Prescriptions". Drug Topics.
  21. ^ Jarvik JG, Hollingworth W, Martin B, Emerson SS, Gray DT, Overman S, Robinson D, Staiger T, Wessbecher F, Sullivan SD, Kreuter W, Deyo RA (June 2003). "Rapid magnetic resonance imaging vs radiographs for patients with low back pain: a randomized controlled trial". Jama. 289 (21): 2810–8. doi:10.1001/jama.289.21.2810. PMID 12783911.