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1.  Experiences from consumer reports on psychiatric adverse drug reactions with antidepressant medication: a qualitative study of reports to a consumer association 
The new European pharmacovigilance legislation has been suggested as marking the beginning of a new chapter in drug safety, making patients an important part of pharmacovigilance. In Sweden since 2008 it has been possible for consumers to report adverse drug reactions (ADRs) to the Medical Products Agency (MPA), and these reports are now understood as an increasingly valuable contribution in the monitoring of safety aspects in medicines. Already in 2002 it was possible to report experiences with medicines to the non-profit and independent organization Consumer Association for Medicines and Health (KILEN) through a web-based report form with an opportunity to describe ADR experiences in free text comments. The aim of this study was to qualitatively analyze the free text comments appended to consumer reports on antidepressant medication.
All reports of suspected adverse reactions regarding antidepressant medications submitted from January 2002 to April 2009 to KILEN’s Internet-based reporting system in Sweden were analyzed according to reported narrative experience(s). Content analysis was used to interpret the content of 181 reports with free text comments.
Three main categories emerged from the analyzed data material: (1) Experiences of drug treatment with subcategories (a) Severe psychiatric adverse reactions, and (b) Discontinuation symptoms; (2) Lack of communication and (3) Trust and distrust. A majority of the reports to KILEN were from patients experiencing symptoms of mental disturbances (sometimes severe) affecting them in many different ways, especially during discontinuation. Several report included narratives of patients not receiving information of potential ADRs from their doctor, but also that there were no follow-ups of the treatment. Trust was highlighted as especially important and some patients reported losing confidence in their doctor when they were not believed about the suspected ADRs they experienced, making them attempt to discontinue their antidepressant treatment on their own.
The present study indicates that free text comments as often contained in case reports directly submitted by patients can be of value in pharmacovigilance and provide important information on how a drug may affect the person using it and influence his or her personal life.
PMCID: PMC3554467  PMID: 23259410
2.  Adverse drug reactions reported by consumers for nervous system medications in Europe 2007 to 2011 
Reporting of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) has traditionally been the sole province of healthcare professionals. In the European Union, more countries have allowed consumers to report ADRs directly to the regulatory agencies. The aim of this study was to characterize ADRs reported by European consumer for nervous system medications.
ADRs reported by consumers for nervous system medications (ATC group N) from 2007 to 2011 and located in the European ADR database, EudraVigilance, were analysed. Data were categorized with respect to age and sex, category and seriousness of reported ADRs and medications. The unit of analysis was one ADR.
We located 4766 ADRs reported for nervous system medications, and one half of these were serious including 19 deaths. Less than 5% of ADRs were reported in children. Totally, 58% of ADRs were reported for women, 42% for men. The majority of reported ADRs were of the types “nervous system disorders” (18% of total ADRs) followed by “psychiatric disorders” (18% of total ADRs) and “general disorders” (15% of total ADRs) which also were the system organ classes in which the majority of serious ADRs were found. ADR reports encompassed medicines from the therapeutic groups: antiepileptics (ATC group N03) (36% of total ADRs), parasympathomimetics (ATC group N07) (22% of total ADRs) and antidepressants ATC group N06A (9% of total ADRs). Antiepileptics were the therapeutic group with the highest share of serious ADRs (60%) followed by antidepressants (15%). Many serious ADRs were reported for pregabalin and varenicline.
The majority of ADRs from nervous system mediations reported by consumers that were identified from the EudraVigilance database were serious. The value of consumer reports in pharmacovigilance still remains unclarified.
PMCID: PMC3685574  PMID: 23763896
Adverse drug reactions; Nervous system medications; Pharmacovigilance; Consumers; EudraVigilance
3.  Adverse drug reactions from psychotropic medicines in the paediatric population: analysis of reports to the Danish Medicines Agency over a decade 
BMC Research Notes  2010;3:176.
The prescribing of psychotropic medicines for the paediatric population is rapidly increasing. In attempts to curb the use of psychotropic medicine in the paediatric population, regulatory authorities have issued various warnings about risks associated with use of these products in childhood. Little evidence has been reported about the adverse drug reactions (ADRs) of these medicines in practice. As spontaneous reports are the main source for information about previously unknown ADRs, we analysed data submitted to a national ADR database. The objective was to characterise ADRs reported for psychotropic medicines in the Danish paediatric population over a decade.
All spontaneous ADR reports from 1998 to 2007 for children from birth to 17 years of age were included. The unit of analysis was one ADR. We analysed the distribution of ADRs per year, seriousness, age and gender of the child, suspected medicine and type of reported ADR. A total of 429 ADRs were reported for psychotropic medicines and 56% of these were classified as serious. Almost 20% of psychotropic ADRs were reported for children from birth up to 2 years of age and one half of ADRs were reported in adolescents, especially for antidepressants and psychostimulants. Approximately 60% of ADRs were reported for boys. Forty percent of all ADRs were from the category 'nervous and psychiatric disorders'. All but one ADR reported for children below two years were serious and two of these were fatal. A number of serious ADRs reported in children from birth up to 2 years of age were presumably caused by mothers' use of psychotropic medicines during pregnancy.
The high number of serious ADRs reported for psychotropic medicines in the paediatric population should be a concern for health care professionals and physicians. Considering the higher number of birth defects being reported greater care has to be given while prescribing these drugs for pregnant women.
PMCID: PMC2901212  PMID: 20573185
4.  Side effects of antineoplastic and immunomodulating medications reported by European consumers 
To characterize adverse drug reactions (ADRs) reported by European (EU) consumer for antineoplastic and immunomodulating medications.
ADRs reported by consumers of antineoplastic and immunomodulating medications (anatomical therapeutic chemical [ATC]) group L from 2007 to 2011 and located in the EU ADR database, EudraVigilance, were analyzed. Data were categorized with respect to age and sex, category, and seriousness of reported ADRs and medications. The unit of analysis was one ADR.
We located 9649 ADRs reported for antineoplastic and immunomodulating medications, which approximately 15% of were serious, including 26 deaths. Less than 5% of ADRs were reported in children. Totally 73% of ADRs were reported for women and 27% for men. The majority of ADRs were of the type “general disorders and administration site conditions” (54% of total ADRs), followed by “skin and subcutaneous disorders” (7% of total ADRs), and “infections and infestations” (6% of total ADRs). Reports encompassed medicines from the therapeutic groups: Imunosupressants (ATC group L04) (90% of all ADRs), immunostimulants (ATC group L03) (6% of all ADRS), and antineoplastic agents (ATC group L01) (4% of all ADRs). Many ADRs were reported for etanercept (Enbrel®), Interferon beta (Betaferon®/Extavia®), and imatinib (Glivec®) with only few being serious.
In general, consumers reported a high number of ADRs from the use of antineoplastic and immunostimulant medications and many of these were classified as non-serious. This indicates that consumers are interesting in reporting ADRs, but since the investigated substances potentially have the risk of causing many ADRs, we expected a higher number of serious ADRs.
PMCID: PMC4076892  PMID: 24991604
Adverse drug reactions; antineoplastic agents; consumers; eudravigilance; immunomodulating agents; pharmacovigilance
5.  Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring of Antidepressants in the Psychiatry Outpatients Department of a Tertiary Care Teaching Hospital 
Background and Introduction: Depression is a prevalent mental disorder and the 4th leading cause of disability in the world as per the World Health Organization (WHO). The adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) to antidepressants are common and they can lead to a non compliance or even a discontinuation of the therapy. This study entitled us to monitor the ADR profile of the antidepressants in a tertiary care teaching hospital.
Patients and Methods: A longitudinal, observational study was conducted in the Outpatients Department of Psychiatry in S.C.B. Medical College and Hospital l in collaboration with the I.M.S and SUM Hospital. A total of 160 cases were studied for ADRs by using a predesigned CDSCO form. The patients who were on TCAs, SSRIs and newer antidepressants (SNRIs/NDRIs) were assessed by doing physical examinations, neurological examinations and relevant lab tests. The causalities were assessed by the criteria of the WHO-UMC. The analysis of ADRs was done by using the Chi square test.
Results: Among the 160 patients who took antidepressants, 26.87% reported ADRs, with at least one possible causality.None were labeled as certain, as a rechallenge was not performed.ADRs were mostly observed in polytherapy (14.37%) and with antidepressants like TCAs (58.84%).
Conclusions: Agitation, anxiety and insomnia were the common ADRs which were associated with the use of antidepressants. This study offers a representative profile of the ADRs which can be expected in the Psychiatry Outpatients Department and due care must be taken to avoid these ADRs.
PMCID: PMC3708214  PMID: 23905119
Depression; Antidepressants; WHO-UMC
6.  A Retrospective Analysis of Spontaneous Adverse Drug Reactions Reports Relating to Paediatric Patients 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(6):e0155385.
Spontaneous reporting on adverse drug reactions (ADR) has been established in Malaysia since 1987, and although these reports are monitored by the Malaysia drug monitoring authority, the National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau, information about ADRs in the paediatric patient population still remains unexplored. The aims of this study, therefore, were to characterize the ADRs reported in respect to the Malaysian paediatric population and to relate the data to specific paediatric age groups.
Data on all ADRs reported to the National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau between 2000 and 2013 for individuals aged from birth to 17 years old were analysed with respect to age and gender, type of reporter, suspected medicines (using the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical classification), category of ADR (according to system organ class) as well as the severity of the ADR.
In total, 11,523 ADR reports corresponding to 22,237 ADRs were analysed, with half of these reporting one ADR per report. Vaccines comprised 55.7% of the 11,523 ADR reports with the remaining being drug related ADRs. Overall, 63.9% of ADRs were reported for paediatric patients between 12 and 17 years of age, with the majority of ADRs reported in females (70.7%). The most common ADRs reported were from the following system organ classes: application site disorders (32.2%), skin and appendages disorders (20.6%), body as a whole general disorders (12.8%) and central and peripheral nervous system disorders (11.2%). Meanwhile, ADRs in respect to anti-infectives for systemic use (2194/5106; 43.0%) were the most frequently reported across all age groups, followed by drugs from the nervous system (1095/5106; 21.4%). Only 0.28% of the ADR cases were reported as fatal. A large proportion of the reports were received from healthcare providers in government health facilities.
ADR reports concerning vaccines and anti-infectives were the most commonly reported in children, and are mainly seen in adolescents, with most of the ADRs manifesting in skin reactions. The majority of the ADR reports were received from nurses in the public sector, reporting ADRs associated with vaccine administration. The low fatality rate of ADR cases reported could potentially be caused by reporting bias due to the very low reporting percentage from the private healthcare institutions. This study indicates that ADR rates among Malaysian children are higher than in developed countries. Constant ADR reporting and monitoring, especially in respect to paediatric patients, should be undertaken to ensure their safety.
PMCID: PMC4889073  PMID: 27249414
7.  Information about ADRs explored by pharmacovigilance approaches: a qualitative review of studies on antibiotics, SSRIs and NSAIDs 
Despite surveillance efforts, unexpected and serious adverse drug reactions (ADRs) repeatedly occur after marketing. The aim of this article is to analyse ADRs reported by available ADR signal detection approaches and to explore which information about new and unexpected ADRs these approaches have detected.
We selected three therapeutic cases for the review: antibiotics for systemic use, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAID) and selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI). These groups are widely used and represent different therapeutic classes of medicines. The ADR studies were identified through literature search in Medline and Embase. The search was conducted in July 2007. For each therapeutic case, we analysed the time of publication, the strengths of the evidence of safety in the different approaches, reported ADRs and whether the studies have produced new information about ADRs compared to the information available at the time of marketing.
79 studies were eligible for inclusion in the analysis: 23 antibiotics studies, 35 NSAID studies, 20 SSRI studies. Studies were mainly published from the end of the 1990s and onwards. Although the drugs were launched in different decades, both analytical and observational approaches to ADR studies were similar for all three therapeutic cases: antibiotics, NSAIDs and SSRIs. The studies primarily dealt with analyses of ADRs of the type A and B and to a lesser extent C and D, cf. Rawlins' classification system. The therapeutic cases provided similar results with regard to detecting information about new ADRs despite different time periods and organs attacked. Approaches ranging higher in the evidence hierarchy provided information about risks of already known or expected ADRs, while information about new and previously unknown ADRs was only detected by case reports, the lowest ranking approach in the evidence hierarchy.
Although the medicines were launched in different decades, approaches to the ADR studies were similar for all three therapeutic cases: antibiotics, NSAIDs and SSRIs. Both descriptive and analytical designs were applied. Despite the fact that analytical studies rank higher in the evidence hierarchy, only the lower ranking descriptive case reports/spontaneous reports provided information about new and previously undetected ADRs. This review underscores the importance of systems for spontaneous reporting of ADRs. Therefore, spontaneous reporting should be encouraged further and the information in ADR databases should continuously be subjected to systematic analysis.
PMCID: PMC2656469  PMID: 19254390
8.  Adverse Drug Reactions: A Retrospective Review of Hospitalized Patients at a State Psychiatric Hospital 
Hospital Pharmacy  2013;48(11):931-935.
Background: There is a paucity of information regarding adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in psychiatric patients. Information on common and preventable ADRs (pADRs) in psychiatric patients will allow for targeted improvement projects.
Objective: To characterize reported ADRs and pharmacist interventions to prevent ADRs in an extended-care state psychiatric hospital.
Methods: Four years of ADR reports were assessed for probability, reaction severity, pharmacological class of medication involved, preventability, change in therapy, and transfers to a medical facility. The pharmacist intervention database was queried for interventions classified as “prevention of ADR.” The interventions were assessed for type of medication and recommendation acceptance.
Results: Medication classes responsible for ADRs included mood stabilizers (30%), typical antipsychotics (25%), atypical antipsychotics (25%), and antidepressants (8%). Nine percent resulted in transfer to a medical facility. Of all ADRs, 34.4% were pADRs; mood stabilizers (41%) and atypical antipsychotics (27%) were the most common pADRs. The most common causes of pADRs were supratherapeutic serum concentrations, drug-drug interactions, and history of reaction. There were 87 pharmacist interventions that were classified as “prevention of ADR,” and the acceptance rate of pharmacists’ recommendations was 96.5%. Mood stabilizers (20%), atypical antipsychotics (17%), and typical antipsychotics (11%) were commonly associated with prevented ADRs. Lithium accounted for 13.8% of prevented ADRs; these ADRs were most often due to a drug–drug interaction with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
Conclusions: ADRs were most commonly associated with mood stabilizers and antipsychotics, and pADRs were common. There is an opportunity to provide education to medical staff on therapeutic drug monitoring and drug–drug interactions for these classes, particularly lithium.
PMCID: PMC3875105  PMID: 24474834
adverse drug reactions; drug interactions; drug safety; preventable adverse drug reactions; psychiatry; psychotropic drugs
9.  Consumers of natural health products: natural-born pharmacovigilantes? 
Natural health products (NHPs), such as herbal medicines and vitamins, are widely available over-the-counter and are often purchased by consumers without advice from a healthcare provider. This study examined how consumers respond when they believe they have experienced NHP-related adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in order to determine how to improve current safety monitoring strategies.
Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with twelve consumers who had experienced a self-identified NHP-related ADR. Key emergent themes were identified and coded using content analysis techniques.
Consumers were generally not comfortable enough with their conventional health care providers to discuss their NHP-related ADRs. Consumers reported being more comfortable discussing NHP-related ADRs with personnel from health food stores, friends or family with whom they had developed trusted relationships. No one reported their suspected ADR to Health Canada and most did not know this was possible.
Consumers generally did not report their suspected NHP-related ADRs to healthcare providers or to Health Canada. Passive reporting systems for collecting information on NHP-related ADRs cannot be effective if consumers who experience NHP-related ADRs do not report their experiences. Healthcare providers, health food store personnel, manufacturers and other stakeholders also need to take responsibility for reporting ADRs in order to improve current pharmacovigilance of NHPs.
PMCID: PMC2847952  PMID: 20184759
10.  Reporting of drug induced depression and fatal and non-fatal suicidal behaviour in the UK from 1998 to 2011 
Psychiatric adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are distressing for patients and have important public health implications. We identified the drugs with the most frequent spontaneous reports of depression, and fatal and non-fatal suicidal behaviour to the UK’s Yellow Card Scheme from 1998 to 2011.
We obtained Yellow Card data from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency for the drugs with the most frequent spontaneous reports of depression and suicidal behaviour from 1964 onwards. Prescribing data were obtained from the NHS Information Centre and the Department of Health. We examined the frequency of reports for drugs and estimated rates of reporting of psychiatric ADRs using prescribing data as proxy denominators from 1998 to 2011, as prescribing data were not available prior to 1998.
There were 110 different drugs with ≥ 20 reports of depression, 58 with ≥10 reports of non-fatal suicidal behaviour and 33 with ≥5 reports of fatal suicidal behaviour in the time period. The top five drugs with the most frequent reports of depression were the smoking cessation medicines varenicline and bupropion, followed by paroxetine (a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), isotretinoin (used in acne treatment) and rimonabant (a weight loss drug). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, varenicline and the antipsychotic medicine clozapine were included in the top five medicines with the most frequent reports of fatal and non-fatal suicidal behaviour. Medicines with the highest reliably measured reporting rates of psychiatric ADRs per million prescriptions dispensed in the community included rimonabant, isotretinoin, mefloquine (an antimalarial), varenicline and bupropion. Robust denominators for community prescribing were not available for two drugs with five or more suicide reports, efavirenz (an antiretroviral medicine) and clozapine.
Depression and suicide-related ADRs are reported for many nervous system and non-nervous system drugs. As spontaneous reports cannot be used to determine causality between the drug and the ADR, psychiatric ADRs which can cause significant public alarm should be specifically assessed and reported in all randomised controlled trials.
PMCID: PMC4184159  PMID: 25266008
Adverse drug reaction; Suicide; Non-fatal suicidal behaviour; Self injury; Depression; Yellow card; Adverse effects
11.  Perceptions of doctors to adverse drug reaction reporting in a teaching hospital in Lagos, Nigeria 
Spontaneous adverse drug reaction (ADR) reporting is the cornerstone of pharmacovigilance. ADR reporting with Yellow Cards has tremendously improved pharmacovigilance of drugs in many developed countries and its use is advocated by the World Health Organization (WHO). This study was aimed at investigating the knowledge and attitude of doctors in a teaching hospital in Lagos, Nigeria on spontaneous ADR reporting and to suggest possible ways of improving this method of reporting.
A total of 120 doctors working at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), in Nigeria were evaluated with a questionnaire for their knowledge and attitudes to ADR reporting. The questionnaire sought the demographics of the doctors, their knowledge and attitudes to ADR reporting, the factors that they perceived may influence ADR reporting, and their levels of education and training on ADR reporting. Provision was also made for suggestions on the possible ways to improve ADR reporting.
The response rate was 82.5%. A majority of the respondents (89, 89.9%) considered doctors as the most qualified health professionals to report ADRs. Forty (40.4%) of the respondents knew about the existence of National Pharmacovigilance Centre (NPC) in Nigeria. Thirty-two (32.3%) respondents were aware of the Yellow Card reporting scheme but only two had ever reported ADRs to the NPC. About half (48.5%) of the respondents felt that all serious ADRs could be identified after drug marketing. There was a significant difference between the proportion of respondents who felt that ADR reporting should be either compulsory or voluntary (χ2 = 38.9, P < 0.001). ADR reporting was encouraged if the reaction was serious (77, 77.8%) and unusual (70, 70.7%). Education and training was the most recognised means of improving ADR reporting.
The knowledge of ADRs and how to report them are inadequate among doctors working in a teaching hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. More awareness should be created on the Yellow Card reporting scheme. Continuous medical education, training and integration of ADR reporting into the clinical activities of the doctors would likely improve reporting.
PMCID: PMC2731723  PMID: 19671176
12.  Adverse Drug Reactions in a Tertiary Care Emergency Medicine Ward - Prevalence, Preventability and Reporting 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(9):e0162948.
To identify the prevalence and preventability of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in an emergency ward setting in a tertiary hospital in Sweden and to what extent the detected ADRs were reported to the Medical Product Agency (MPA).
In this prospective cross sectional observational study, 706 patients admitted to one of the Emergency Wards, at the Karolinska University Hospital in Solna, Stockholm during September 2008 –September 2009, were included. The electronic patient records were reviewed for patients’ demographic parameters, prevalence of possible ADRs and assessment of their preventability. In addition, the extent of formal and required ADR reporting to national registers was studied.
Approximately 40 percent of the patient population had at least one possible ADR (n = 284). In the multivariable regression model, age and number of drugs were significantly associated with risk of presenting with an ADR (p<0.01 and p<0.001, respectively). Sex was not identified as a significant predictor of ADRs (p = 0.27). The most common ADRs were cardiovascular, followed by electrolyte disturbances, and hemorrhage. In 18 percent of the patient population ADRs were the reason for admission or had contributed to admission and 24% of these ADRs were assessed as preventable. The under-reporting of ADRs to the MPA was 99%.
ADRs are common in Emergency Medicine in tertiary care in Sweden, but under-reporting of ADRs is substantial. The most frequent ADRs are caused by cardiovascular drugs, and significantly associated with age and number of drugs. However, only a minority of the detected serious ADRs contributing to admission could have been avoided by increased risk awareness.
PMCID: PMC5021364  PMID: 27622270
13.  Different standards for reporting ADRs to herbal remedies and conventional OTC medicines: face-to-face interviews with 515 users of herbal remedies 
To determine whether adverse drug reactions (ADRs) to herbal remedies would be reported differently from similar ADRs to conventional over-the-counter (OTC) medicines by herbal-remedy users.
Face-to-face interviews (using a structured questionnaire) with 515 users of herbal remedies were conducted in six pharmacy stores and six healthfood stores in the UK. The questionnaire focused on the likely course of action taken by herbal-remedy users after experiencing an ADR associated with a conventional OTC medicine and a herbal remedy.
Following a ‘serious’ suspected ADR, 156 respondents (30.3%) would consult their GP irrespective of whether the ADR was associated with the use of a herbal remedy or a conventional OTC medicine, whereas 221 respondents (42.9%) would not consult their GP for a serious ADR associated with either type of preparation. One hundred and thirty-four respondents (26.0%) would consult their GP for a serious ADR to a conventional OTC medicine, but not for a similar ADR to a herbal remedy, whereas four respondents (0.8%) would consult their GP for a serious ADR to a herbal remedy, but not for a similar ADR to a conventional OTC medicine. Similar differences were found in attitudes towards reporting ‘minor’ suspected ADRs.
Consumers of herbal remedies would act differently with regard to reporting an ADR (serious or minor) to their GP depending on whether it was associated with a herbal remedy or a conventional OTC medicine. This has implications for herbal pharmacovigilance, particularly given the increasing use of OTC herbal remedies. The finding that a high proportion of respondents would not consult their GP or pharmacist following ADRs to conventional OTC medicines is also of concern.
PMCID: PMC1873549  PMID: 9643624
herbal medicines; drugs; nonprescription; drug monitoring; adverse drug reaction reporting systems; alternative medicine
14.  Adverse drug reactions in adult medical inpatients in a South African hospital serving a community with a high HIV/AIDS prevalence: prospective observational study 
To describe the frequency, nature and preventability of community-acquired and hospital-acquired adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in a South African hospital serving a community with a high prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/ acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
A 3-month prospective observational study of 665 adults admitted to two medical wards.
Forty-one (6.3%) patients were admitted as a result of an ADR and 41 (6.3%) developed an ADR in hospital. Many of the ADRs (46.2%) were considered preventable, although less likely to be preventable in HIV-infected patients than in those with negative or unknown HIV status (community-acquired ADRs 2/24 vs. 35/42; P < 0.0001; hospital-acquired ADRs 3/25 vs. 14/26; P = 0.003). Patients admitted with ADRs were older than patients not admitted with an ADR (median 53 vs. 42 years, P = 0.003), but 60% of community-acquired ADRs at hospital admission were in patients <60 years old. Among patients <60 years old, those HIV infected were more likely to be admitted with an ADR [odds ratio (OR) 2.32, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.17, 4.61; P = 0.017]. Among HIV-infected patients, those receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) were more likely to be admitted with an ADR than those not receiving ART (OR 10.34, 95% CI 4.50, 23.77; P < 0.0001). No ART-related ADRs were fatal. Antibiotics and drugs used for opportunistic infections were implicated in two-thirds of hospital-acquired ADRs.
ADRs are an important, often preventable cause of hospitalizations and inpatient morbidity in South Africa, particularly among the elderly and HIV-infected. Although ART-related injury contributed to hospital admissions, many HIV-related admissions were among patients not receiving ART, and many ADRs were associated with medicines used for managing opportunistic infections.
What is already known about this subject Studies conducted primarily in developed countries have shown that adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are a significant cause of hospital admission, prolong hospital stay and consequently increase the cost of disease management in patients.Cardiovascular medicines, hypoglycaemic agents, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics are the most frequently implicated medicines in these studies.A large proportion of these ADRs have been shown to be preventable through improved drug prescribing, administration and monitoring for adverse effects.
What this paper adds This is the first Sub-Saharan African study in the HIV/AIDS era that describes the contribution of ADRs to patient morbidity, hospitalisation and mortality.Cardiovascular medicines and antiretroviral therapy contributed the most to community-acquired ADRs at the time of hospital admission while medicines used for opportunistic infections (such as antifungals, antibiotics and antituberculosis medicines were most frequently implicated in hospital acquired ADRs.ADRs in HIV-infected patients were less likely to be preventable.
PMCID: PMC2291259  PMID: 18070223
pharmacovigilance; HIV/AIDS; adverse drug reactions; hospitalisation; drug-related morbidity
15.  Knowledge creation about ADRs – turning the perspective from the rear mirror to the projector? 
Spontaneous reports of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are often the only documentation used to justify the recall of drugs from the market. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether it would have been possible to foresee serious ADR cases based on available information on ADRs reported in Phase II and III clinical trials before marketing.
We conducted a retrospective analysis of reported ADR data in Phase II/III clinical trials in the registration material for three different ADR scenarios: (i) trovafloxacin/alatrofloxacin and hepatotoxicity; (ii) tolcapone and hepatotoxicity and neuroleptic malignant syndrome; and (iii) rituximab and cytokine release syndrome. We chose the scenarios because they were of serious character and caused great damage to the patients and because of different outcomes of the scientific discussions in the regulatory agencies.
In all three cases, the registration material contained observations of ADRs, but there had been no follow-up on these observations. ADRs were mentioned in the summary of product information (SPC) purely as information, to some extent accompanied by recommendations. The information was not converted into new knowledge and remained tacit knowledge embedded in the SPCs disseminated to health professionals/prescribers.
The registration material analysed contained information about ADRs that were reported later, meaning that it would have been possible to foresee the occurrence of the ADRs at the time of licensing. More active utilization of the information from Phase II/III clinical trials is recommended to prevent the appearance of unexpected ADRs and further emphasis in SPC warnings to doctors about possible serious ADRs.
What is already known about this subject? Serious and unexpected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) have been reported shortly after marketing of a number of drugs.Review of ADR cases by the regulatory authorities has resulted in suspension of drugs or restrictions in product information.
What this study adds? Information about serious and unexpected ADRs of three drugs with reported serious ADRs was already present in the registration files.Observations of these ADRs were not investigated further before marketing.A more active utilization of the ADR information in premarketing studies could probably prevent the appearance of unexpected and serious ADR cases after marketing.
PMCID: PMC2291241  PMID: 17961195
adverse drug reactions; knowledge; pharmacoepidemiology; Phase II/III clinical trials; registrations files
16.  The frequency of adverse drug reaction related admissions according to method of detection, admission urgency and medical department specialty 
Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) have been regarded as a major public health problem since they represent a sizable percentage of admissions. Unfortunately, there is a wide variation of ADR related admissions among different studies. The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of ADR related admissions and its dependency on reporting and method of detection, urgency of admissions and included medical departments reflecting department/hospital type within one study.
The study team of internal medicine specialists retrospectively reviewed 520 randomly selected medical records (3%) of patients treated in the medical departments of the primary city and tertiary referral governmental hospital for certain ADRs causing admissions regarding WHO causality criteria. All medical records were checked for whether the treating physicians recognised and documented ADRs causing admissions. The hospital information system was checked to ensure ADR related diagnoses were properly coded and the database of a national spontaneous reporting system was searched for patients with ADRs included in this study.
The established frequency of admissions due to certain ADRs recognised by the study team and documented in medical records by the treating physicians was the same and represented 5.8% of all patients (30/520). The frequency of ADR causing admissions detected by employing a computer-assisted approach using an ICD-10 coding system was 0.2% (1/520), and no patient admitted due to ADRs was reported to the national reporting system (0/520). The recognized frequency of ADR related admissions also depends on the department's specialty (p = 0.001) and acceptance of urgently admitted patients (p = 0.001). Patients admitted due to ADRs were significantly older compared to patients without ADRs (p = 0.025). Gastrointestinal bleeding due to NSAID, acetylsalicylic acid and warfarin was the most common ADR that resulted in admission and represented 40% of all certain ADRs (12/30) according to WHO causality criteria.
ADRs cause 5.8% of admissions in medical departments in the primary city and tertiary referral hospital. The physicians recognise certain ADR related admissions according to WHO causality criteria and note them in medical records, but they rarely code and report ADRs. The established frequency of ADR related admissions depends on the detection method, department specialty and frequency of urgently admitted patients.
PMCID: PMC2680808  PMID: 19409112
17.  Cardiovascular Adverse Reactions During Antidepressant Treatment: A Drug Surveillance Report of German-Speaking Countries Between 1993 and 2010 
Antidepressants (ADs) are known to have the potential to cause various cardiovascular adverse drug reactions (ADRs). The tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) were first revealed to be a possible source of cardiovascular ADRs. In recent years, newer classes of ADs were also suggested to have a higher risk of cardiovascular adverse effects. In particular, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were suspected to have the potential to induce QTc interval prolongation, and therefore increase the risk of ventricular arrhythmia. This descriptive study is based on the continuous pharmacovigilance program of German-speaking countries (Austria, Germany, and Switzerland), the Arzneimittelsicherheit in der Psychiatrie (AMSP), which assesses severe ADRs occurring in clinical routine situations.
Of 169 278 psychiatric inpatients treated with ADs between 1993 and 2010, 198 cases of cardiovascular ADRs (0.12%) were analyzed.
Our study showed that the incidence rates of cardiovascular ADRs were highest during treatment with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (0.27%), TCAs (0.15%), and serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (0.14%); the risk of occurring during treatment with SSRIs (0.08%) was significantly lower. The noradrenergic and specific serotonergic AD mirtazapine (0.07%) had a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular ADRs than all other ADs. Severe hypotension was the most frequent ADR, followed by hypertension, arrhythmia, and in some rare cases heart failure.
Despite certain limitations due to the AMSP study design, our observations on cardiovascular ADRs can contribute to a better knowledge of the cardiovascular risk profiles of antidepressants in the clinical routine setting. However, prospective studies are needed to verify our findings.
PMCID: PMC4360213  PMID: 25522416
Antidepressant; cardiovascular side effects; QT prolongation; SSRI; tricyclic antidepressant
18.  A systematic review of the prevalence and risk factors for adverse drug reactions in the elderly in the acute care setting 
Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are an important health issue. While prevalence and risk factors associated with ADRs in the general adult population have been well documented, much less is known about ADRs in the elderly population. The aim of this study was to review the published literature to estimate the prevalence of ADRs in the elderly in the acute care setting and identify factors associated with an increased risk of an ADR in the elderly. A systematic review of studies published between 2003 and 2013 was conducted in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, EMBASE, Google Scholar and MEDLINE. Key search terms included: “adverse drug reactions”, “adverse effects”, “elderly patients and hospital admission”, “drug therapy”, “drug adverse effects”, “drug related”, “aged”, “older patients”, “geriatric”, “hospitalization”, and “emergency admissions”. For inclusion in the review, studies had to focus on ADRs in the elderly and had to include an explicit definition of what was considered an ADR and/or an explicit assessment of causality, and a clear description of the method used for ADR identification, and had to describe factors associated with an increased risk of an ADR. Fourteen hospital-based observational studies exploring ADRs in the elderly in the acute care setting were eligible for inclusion in this review. The mean prevalence of ADRs in the elderly in the studies included in this review was 11.0% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 5.1%–16.8%). The median prevalence of ADRs leading to hospitalization was 10.0% (95% CI: 7.2%–12.8%), while the prevalence of ADRs occurring during hospitalization was 11.5% (95% CI: 0%–27.7%). There was wide variation in the overall ADR prevalence, from 5.8% to 46.3%. Female sex, increased comorbid complexity, and increased number of medications were all significantly associated with an increased risk of an ADR. Retrospective studies and those relying on identification by the usual treating team reported lower prevalence rates. From this review, we can conclude that ADRs constitute a significant health issue for the elderly in the acute care setting. While there was wide variation in the prevalence of ADRs in the elderly, based on the findings of this study, at least one in ten elderly patients will experience an ADR leading to or during their hospital stay. Older female patients and those with multiple comorbidities and medications appear to be at the highest risk of an ADR in the acute care setting.
PMCID: PMC4257024  PMID: 25489239
drug utilization; hospital
19.  Recognition and reporting of suspected adverse drug reactions by surveyed healthcare professionals in Uganda: key determinants 
BMJ Open  2014;4(11):e005869.
To assess extent and determinants of past-month recognition of suspected adverse drug reactions (ADR) and past-year ADR reporting among healthcare professionals (HCPs) in Uganda.
Geographically diverse health facilities (public, private for-profit, private not-for-profit).
Of 2000 questionnaires distributed, 1345 were completed: return rate of 67%.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
Per cent HCPs who suspected ADR in the past month; reported ADR in the past year.
Nurses were the majority (59%, 792/1345). Only half the respondents had heard about pharmacovigilance: 39% of nurses (295/763; 95% CI 35% to 42%), 70% otherwise (383/547; 95% CI 66% to 74%). One fifth (268/1289 or 21%; 95% CI 19% to 23%) had suspected an ADR in the previous 4 weeks, 111 of them were nurses; 15% (190/1296) had reported a suspected ADR in the past year, 103 of them were nurses. Past-month ADR suspicion was more likely by non-nurses (OR=1.7, 95% CI 1.16 to 2.40) and with medical research involvement (OR=1.5, 95% CI 1.05 to 2.15) but past-month receipt of patient ADR-complaint predominated (OR=19, 95% CI 14 to 28). Past-year ADR reporting was higher by hospital staff (OR=1.9, 95% CI 1.18 to 3.10), especially in medicine (OR=2.3, 95% CI 1.08 to 4.73); but lower from private for-profit health facilities (OR=0.5, 95% CI 0.28 to 0.77) and by older staff (OR=0.6, 95% CI 0.43 to 0.91); more likely by HCPs who had ever encountered a fatal ADR (OR=2.9, 95% CI 1.94 to 4.25), knew to whom to report (OR=1.7, 95% CI 1.18 to 2.46), or suggested how to improve ADR reporting (OR=1.6, 95% CI 1.04 to 2.49). Two attitudinal factors were important: diffidence and lethargy.
One in five HCPs suspected an ADR in the past-month and one in seven reported ADR in the previous year. Empowering patients could strengthen ADR detection and reporting in Africa.
PMCID: PMC4244492  PMID: 25421337
Pharmacoviligance; Adverse Drug Reactions; Reporting-Rates; Uganda; Healthcare Professionals
20.  A prospective observational study to evaluate safety reporting of antidepressants at a tertiary care hospital in India 
Indian Journal of Pharmacology  2014;46(5):543-546.
This prospective observational study was carried out to identify the prevalence and Severity of ADRs of antidepressant in a tertiary care teaching hospital.
Materials and Methods:
Patients prescribed with at least one antidepressant were randomly selected and monitored for adverse drug reactions (ADRs), irrespective of their age and gender.
Of the 401 patients who received antidepressants, 170 patients (42.39%) experienced 204 ADRs. Selective serotonin receptor inhibitors (SSRIs) [110 (53.92)] was the most common therapeutic class of drugs associated with ADRs. Gastrointestinal system [54 (26.47)] was most commonly affected system organ class. Dry mouth (n = 30) and diaphoresis (n = 21) were the most frequently reported ADRs. As assessed by the World Health organization (WHO) probability scale, 61% of the ADRs were ‘probable’ causality. Among all the ADRs, 22.54% (46) were preventable. Majority of the ADRs [(n = 184) 90.17%] were ‘mild’ in their severity.
In this study, incidence of adverse reaction to antidepressants was 42.3% were the most comman SSRI inplicated drug group for the ADRs.
PMCID: PMC4175893  PMID: 25298586
Adverse effects; antidepressants; depression; psychiatry; psychiatric patients
21.  Knowledge, attitude and perception/practices (KAP) of medical practitioners in India towards adverse drug reaction (ADR) reporting 
The objective was to assess knowledge, attitude and perceptions/practices (KAP) of medical practitioners (MPs) in India towards Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR) reporting.
Materials and Methods:
A questionnaire was designed for assessment of KAP of medical practitioners in India toward ADR reporting. This questionnaire was administered to 2-3 medical practitioners from each zone prior to administering final questionnaire which was approved by Disha Independent Ethics Committee, Mumbai. 1200 medical practitioners (about 300 from each zone) from India were selected randomly.
1000 medical practitioners out of 1200 (90%), selected at random were approached. A total of 870 provided responses to the questionnaire, giving a response rate of 73% of 1200 selected randomly. A total of 47.5% respondents reported that they were aware of Government ADR centers. A total of 59.2% reported that they are familiar with the procedure of reporting ADRs to Government centers. However, only 18.5% of MPs have reported the observed ADRs to Government ADR centers. As against this relatively large number of MPs (87.9%) have reported ADRs observed during their routine practice to medical representatives of pharmaceutical company and NGOs (non-Govt. Organizations). A total of 80.5% of respondents agreed that safety plays an important role and 96% reported that ADR centers are useful. However, only 55.6% of respondents have reported that there is a need for ADR centers.
The study reveals that practitioners are aware of ADR reporting; their perception toward ADR reporting is right but it is not reflected when it comes to the act of reporting of ADRs. In our sample of 870 respondents only 18.5 % reported ADRs to some organizations. Only 5% of respondents recorded the details of ADR and reported to the manufacturer and 1% of respondents to government health ministry. Thus, medical practitioners in India appear to have a good knowledge about ADR reporting, the right perception toward ADR reporting. However, as far as practice of ADR reporting is concerned it is discouraging.
PMCID: PMC3487231  PMID: 23125959
Adverse drug reactions; ADR reporting; pharmacovigilance
22.  Rare, Serious, and Comprehensively Described Suspected Adverse Drug Reactions Reported by Surveyed Healthcare Professionals in Uganda 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0123974.
Lack of adequate detail compromises analysis of reported suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs). We investigated how comprehensively Ugandan healthcare professionals (HCPs) described their most recent previous-month suspected ADR, and determined the characteristics of HCPs who provided comprehensive ADR descriptions. We also identified rare, serious, and unanticipated suspected ADR descriptions with medication safety-alerting potential.
During 2012/13, this survey was conducted in purposively selected Ugandan health facilities (public/private) including the national referral and six regional referral hospitals representative of all regions. District hospitals, health centres II to IV, and private health facilities in the catchment areas of the regional referral hospitals were conveniently selected. Healthcare professionals involved in prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, and administration of medications were approached and invited to self-complete a questionnaire on ADR reporting. Two-thirds of issued questionnaires (1,345/2,000) were returned.
Ninety per cent (241/268) of HCPs who suspected ADRs in the previous month provided information on five higher-level descriptors as follows: body site (206), drug class (203), route of administration (127), patient age (133), and ADR severity (128). Comprehensiveness (explicit provision of at least four higher-level descriptors) was achieved by at least two-fifths (46%, 124/268) of HCPs. Received descriptions were more likely to be comprehensive from HCPs in private health facilities, regions other than central, and those not involved in teaching medical students. Overall, 106 serious and 51 rare previous-month suspected ADRs were described. The commonest serious and rare ADR was Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS); mostly associated with oral nevirapine or cotrimoxazole, but haemoptysis after diclofenac analgesia and paralysis after quinine injection were also described.
Surveyed Ugandan HCPs who had suspected at least one ADR in the previous month competently provided comprehensive ADR descriptions: more, indeed, than are received per annum nationally. Properly analyzed, and with local feed-back, voluntary ADR reports by HCPs could be an essential alerting tool for identifying rare and serious suspected ADRs in Uganda.
PMCID: PMC4408100  PMID: 25905889
23.  Attitudinal survey of voluntary reporting of adverse drug reactions 
Voluntary adverse drug reaction (ADR) reporting schemes have operated since the early sixties in many Western countries. It is generally recognized, however, that only a small proportion of ADRs is actually reported. The current survey was conducted to assess attitudes towards reporting of ADRs, and to study which types of ADRs are reported.
A questionnaire seeking reasons for nonreporting was sent to a random sample of 10% of medical practitioners in The Netherlands in October 1997. After 6 weeks, a reminder was sent to those who had not responded.
One thousand four hundred and forty-two (73%) questionnaires were returned, of which 94% were complete. The percentage of GPs (51%) which had ever reported an ADR to the national reporting centre was significantly higher than the percentage of specialists (35%), who reported more often to the pharmaceutical industry (34%vs 48%). 86% of GPs, 72% of surgical specialists and 81% of medical specialists had ever diagnosed an ADR, which they had not reported. Uncertainty as to whether the reaction was caused by a drug (72%), the ADR being trivial (75%) or too well known (93%) were the most important reasons for not reporting. 18% were not aware of the need to report ADRs, 22% did not know how to report ADRs, 38% did not have enough time, 36% thought that reporting was too bureaucratic and only 26% of Dutch physicians knew which ADRs to report. A serious ADR, an unlabelled ADR, an ADR to a new drug, history of reporting of one or more ADRs, and specialty were all independently associated with reporting of 16 hypothetical ADRs. Surgical and medical specialists tended to report less often than GPs.
There is a considerable degree of underreporting, which might partly be explained by lack of knowledge and misconceptions about spontaneous reporting of adverse drug reactions.
PMCID: PMC2014371  PMID: 10583035
adverse drug reaction; spontaneous reporting
24.  Spontaneous adverse drug reaction reporting by patients in Canada: a multi-method study—study protocol 
SpringerPlus  2016;5:213.
Monitoring adverse drug reactions (ADRs) through pharmacovigilance are vital to patient safety. Spontaneous ADR reporting is one method of pharmacovigilance, and in Canada all reporter types admitted to report an ADR to the Canadian Vigilance Program at Health Canada. Reports are submitted to Health Canada by post, telephone, or via the internet. The Canada Vigilance Program electronically records submitted information to detect medication safety alerts. Although previous studies have shown differences between patients and healthcare professionals (HCPs) on the types of drugs and reactions reported, relatively little is known about the importance of patient reports to pharmacovigilance activities. This article proposed a multi-method approach to evaluate the importance of patient ADR reporting on pharmacovigilance activities, by systematically review the available literature, comparing patient—versus HCPs-generated ADR reports that were submitted to the Canada Vigilance Program, and exploring patient views and experiences regarding the Canadian ADR reporting system.
Guided by a risk-perception theoretical lens, the proposed multi-methods research study will involve three phases. Phase I is a systematic review of all studies that analyse the factors influence ADR reporting by patients to the pharmacovigilance schemes. Phase II is a descriptive statistical analysis of all ADR reports received by the Canada Vigilance Program database between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2014 from patients and HCPs to compare ADRs reported by patients with those reported by HCP reports in terms of ADR seriousness, ADR classification by system organ class, and the medication involved based on the anatomical therapeutic class system. In phase III, an interpretative descriptive approach will be used to explore patient’s views and experiences on ADR reporting and usability of the Canadian Vigilance ADR report. Participants will be purposefully selected to ensure diverse backgrounds and experiences. Interviews will be digitally-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and inductively analysed to identify themes. Patients will be interviewed until theoretical saturation is achieved.
Findings from this research will highlight the role of the patients in directly reporting ADRs, and provide information that may guide streamline and optimizing patient ADR reporting. Policy makers, public health officials, and regulatory agencies will require this critical information in order to improve medication safety in Canada and worldwide.
PMCID: PMC4771660  PMID: 27026907
Adverse drug reactions (ADRS); Pharmacovigilance; Patient reporting; Canada
25.  Pattern of adverse drug reactions reported by the community pharmacists in Nepal 
Pharmacy Practice  2010;8(3):201-207.
The pharmacovigilance program in Nepal is less than a decade old, and is hospital centered. This study highlights the findings of a community based pharmacovigilance program involving the community pharmacists.
To collect the demographic details of the patients experiencing adverse drug reactions (ADR) reported by the community pharmacists; to identify the common drugs causing the ADRs, the common types of ADRs; and to carry out the causality, severity and preventability assessments of the reported ADRs.
The baseline Knowledge-Attitude-Practices (KAP) of 116 community pharmacists from Pokhara valley towards drug safety was evaluated using a validated (Cronbach alpha=0.61) KAP questionnaire having 20 questions [(knowledge 11, attitude 5 and practice 4) maximum possible score 40]. Thirty community pharmacists with high scores were selected for three training sessions, each session lasting for one to two hours, covering the basic knowledge required for the community pharmacists for ADR reporting. Pharmacist from the regional pharmacovigilance center visited the trained community pharmacists every alternate day and collected the filled ADR reporting forms.
Altogether 71 ADRs, from 71 patients (37 males) were reported. Antibiotics/ antibacterials caused 42% (n=37) of the total ADRs followed by non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [25% (n=22)]. Ibuprofen/paracetamol combination accounted for ten ADRs. The most common type of ADR was itching [17.2 % (n=20), followed by generalized edema [8.6 % (n=10)]. In order to manage the ADRs, the patients needed medical treatment in 69% (n=49) of the cases. Over two third (69%) of the ADRs had a ‘possible’ association with the suspected drugs and a high percentage (70.4%) were of ‘mild (level 2)’ type. Nearly two third [64.7 % (n=46)] of the ADRs were ‘definitely preventable’.
The common class of drugs known to cause ADRs was antibacterial/ antibiotics. Ibuprofen/ Paracetamol combination use of the drug was responsible for more number of ADRs and the most common ADRs were related to dermatological system. Strengthening this program might improve safe use of medicines in the community.
PMCID: PMC4127056  PMID: 25126141
Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems; Community Pharmacy Services; Pharmacists; Nepal

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