While aspirin is the most well known repurposed medication and has as a result saved many lives, actually a large number of medications, particularly herbal extracts have been repurposed once their actions were more fully understood. Repurposing in the heavily regulated and commercialised human pharmacology sector is however full of potential pitfalls. If the drug is under patent the patent holder may not see commercial benefit in repurposing. Indeed if they do so they may only see commercial sense if as a result their patent rights are extended. This has happened with for example pregabalin where although a generic product is available the original patented product is the only form licensed in the EU for treating neuropathic pain. For drugs out of patent, use is often out of license and there is often little incentive for full clinical trials.
- Adenosine - in conjunction with BCNU in the treatment of brain tumours
- Aldesleukin - In T cell primary immune deficiency
- Alefacept - prophylaxis against rejection in patients receiving allogenic solid organ transplants
- Colchicine - Familial Mediterranean fever
- Imiglucerase - replacement therapy in types II and III Gaucher's disease (was developed for Type I)
- Methylene blue - discovered to be a sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) activator so offers a potential treatment of steatosis and steatohepatitis
- Salbuterol - prevention of paralysis due to spinal cord injury
- Somatropin - short stature in multiple rare conitions
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