The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has launched a social media campaign to promote reporting of suspected side effects, as part of an European Union-wide awareness week.
It is important that the associated risks of medicines are understood and communicated to health professionals and patients, said the agency, which is running its campaign between 7-11 November.
“Our campaign will help the public, patients and healthcare professionals report potential side effects”
The MHRA highlighted that it relied on the reporting of suspected side effects to ensure medicines on the market were acceptably safe, but was aware that it did not get to hear about all of them.
“Unfortunately, all reporting systems suffer from underreporting, and this is why our campaign is important to both raise awareness and help strengthen the system,” it said.
At the centre of the campaign is an animation showing the story of a patient who has a suspected adverse reaction.
It shows the drug being taken, a suspected side effect being experienced, how reports are made by patients or healthcare professionals to the medicines regulator, and how it benefits future patients.
The MHRA highlighted previous examples of the impact of side effect reporting, such as that patients taking warfarin should avoid drinking cranberry juice, and that advice not to prescribe aspirin to children had virtually eliminated Reye’s syndrome, a condition causing brain and liver swelling.
Mick Foy, group manager of the MHRA’s vigilance and risk management of medicines division said: “Our campaign will help the public, patients and healthcare professionals report potential side effects and have confidence that their reports are making a difference.”
The campaign is part of the Strengthening Collaboration for Operating Pharmacovigilance in Europe (SCOPE) Joint Action project.
One of its main aims is to raise awareness of national reporting systems for suspected side effects in medicines, with 22 EU member states taking part in a combined social media campaign.
- Update your knowledge by taking our free learning unit on Adverse Drug Reactions: Yellow Card Reporting Scheme