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1.  Impact of information letters on the reporting rate of adverse drug reactions and the quality of the reports: a randomized controlled study 
Spontaneous reporting of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) is an important method for pharmacovigilance, but under-reporting and poor quality of reports are major limitations. The aim of this study was to evaluate if repeated one-page ADR information letters affect (i) the reporting rate of ADRs and (ii) the quality of the ADR reports.
All 151 primary healthcare units in the Region Västra Götaland, Sweden, were randomly allocated (1:1) to an intervention (n = 77) or a control group (n = 74). The intervention consisted of one-page ADR information letters administered at three occasions during 2008 to all physicians and nurses in the intervention units. The number of ADR reports received from the 151 units was registered, as was the quality of the reports, which was defined as high if the ADR was to be reported according to Swedish regulations, that is, if the ADR was (i) serious, (ii) unexpected, and/or (iii) related to the use of new drugs and not labelled as common in the Summary of Product Characteristics. A questionnaire was administered to evaluate if the ADR information letter had reached the intended recipient.
Before the intervention, no significant differences in reporting rate or number of high quality reports could be detected between the randomization groups. In 2008, 79 reports were sent from 37 intervention units and 52 reports from 30 control units (mean number of reports per unit ± standard deviation: 1.0 ± 2.5 vs. 0.7 ± 1.2, P = 0.34). The number of high quality reports was higher in intervention units than in control units (37 vs. 15 reports, 0.5 ± 0.9 vs. 0.2 ± 0.6, P = 0.048). According to the returned questionnaires (n = 1,292, response rate 57%), more persons in the intervention than in the control group had received (29% vs. 19%, P < 0.0001) and read (31% vs. 26%, P < 0.0001) an ADR information letter.
This study suggests that repeated ADR information letters to physicians and nurses do not increase the ADR reporting rate, but may increase the number of high quality reports.
PMCID: PMC3182972  PMID: 21899766
2.  Fatal drug poisonings in a Swedish general population 
Pharmaceutical drug poisonings have previously been reported using single sources of information, either hospital data or forensic data, which might not reveal the true incidence. We therefore aimed to estimate the incidence of suspected fatal drug poisonings, defined as poisonings by pharmaceutical agents, by using all relevant case records from various sources in a Swedish population.
Every seventh randomly selected deceased in three counties in southeastern Sweden during a one-year period was identified in the Cause of Death Register. Relevant case records (death certificates, files from hospitals and/or primary care centres and medico-legal files) were reviewed for all study subjects.
Of 1574 deceased study subjects, 12 cases were classified as pharmaceutical drug poisonings according to the death certificates and 10 according to the medico-legal files. When reviewing all available data sources, 9 subjects (0.57%; 95% confidence interval: 0.20–0.94%) were classified as drug poisonings, corresponding to an incidence of 6.5 (95% confidence interval: 2.3–10.7) per 100 000 person-years in the general population. The drug groups most often implicated were benzodiazepines (33%), antihistamines (33%) and analgesics (22%).
Fatal drug poisonings is a relatively common cause of death in Sweden. By using multiple sources of information when investigating the proportion of fatal poisonings in a population, more accurate estimates may be obtained.
PMCID: PMC2679715  PMID: 19397805

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