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Headache, nausea, diarrhea: Side effects can be nasty.

But a laundry list of adverse reactions can actually give scientists an important clue: It means the drug is potent in many different ways — and could, perhaps, be used to treat a different disease than the manufacturer intended.

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  • Dr. Hagan, your biggest challenge is the fact that Betoptic has been off patent for years, and there is Timolol, etc eye drops. These all can be used off label for migraines, and are generic.

    • We used timolol eye drops in our cases reported in peer-review journal. We have a way of making them more effective than glaucoma eye drops applied to the eye that we believe could be patented and developed with very low development costs and very rapid path to FDA approval.

  • As a pharmacist who has been in practice since 1981, I think it is worth looking at some of the older drugs and determine if they have use in treating patients in today’s world. We have better technology today also, to address pharmacokinetics, drug levels, etc. One example was the the study done years ago on thiazide diuretics after they were all generic already. Some times new drugs aren’t the best for patients or we shouldn’t change what is working or a side effect years ago, maybe a reason to use a drug today?

  • I don’t think sildenafil example really belongs in this piece as that wasn’t (so far as I understand the history) about repurposing an existing drug so much as finding a new use for a compound that was failing in clinical trials. Granted, the distinction between “repurposing” and “new uses” is a fine one, but the article seems to be about taking drugs that have been FDA approved or a given condition (and that are usually older, without patent protection any longer) and turning them into drugs for a different condition, which is not what the sildenafil example is a case of.

    • My associate and I are trying to interest Abbott in using beta blocker eye drops for treating acute migraines. We report the only successful cases in the world’s peer review literature of beta blockers being used successfully for acute migraine. We are having trouble getting their attention. you know anyone in their migraine research department we might discuss with? We have proof of concept studies going at two universities.

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