Prescription Drugs That Lead Double Lives

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Old drugs in new packages

by Carina Storrs

We usually view side effects as a bad thing, but sometimes they point the way to a whole new use for a drug.

“We think of...drugs as being specific to [a] task,” says Harvard University medical historian Jeremy Greene, MD. In fact, he says, “drugs are very complex objects.”

As research and development costs have climbed, drug companies are more interested than ever in finding ways to repurpose their products. Often they seek to simply market an existing drug for a new condition, but in some cases they give the drug a whole new name and face. Here are eight drugs that lead double lives.

Next: Prozac and Sarafem

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