Information sources for adverse drug reactions

Earlier this year, I attended the PRIMM conference, where some work I have been involved with was presented (led by Prof Janet Krska’s team at The Medway School of Pharmacy). Patients were surveyed about their information sources for adverse drug reactions.

Some of the outcomes are in line with prior research, such as a significant proportion of patients finding patient information leaflets less than easy to understand. General Practitioners were the top source of information on adverse drug reactions (69%). Pharmacists were less well used than General Practitioners(28%), and were beaten by the internet (37%). This is despite only 14% of respondents trusting the internet.

So despite being viewed as easy to access (76%) and trustworthy (73%), Pharmacists are not being appropriately used to address information deficits about adverse drug reactions. This is a pity. As the healthcare professional with arguably the greatest knowledge of medicines, Pharmacists should be a key source of drug safety for patients, and be able to interpret the drug safety data in the context of the patient’s particular circumstances. Certainly, they are in an accessible position to reduce the workload of General Practitioners in this area.

O’Donovan B, Rodgers RM, Cox AR and Krska J. Patients’ use of information sources regarding side effects Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, 2017; 26:15-16 (Prescribing And Research In Medicine Management (Uk & Ireland) Annual Conference 2017, University Of Coventry London Campus, January 28th 2017: “Deprescribing – Is Less More?”)