Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are badly reported in clinical trials, and many rare and long-term ADRs cannot be detected in standard tests for efficacy. This makes systematic reviews of specific ADRs associated with a drug difficult to perform, and the sensivity and precision of searches can be poor if methods used to find efficacy studies are used.
Golder et al1 have published an excellent evidence-based best practice for systematic reviews of ADRs in the literature, from question formulation, to search strategies and database choices, to use of unpublished sources of data (such as spontaneous data and theses). Essential reading if you are involved in the search for harms, and want to avoid false negatives…
Overview: comprehensive and carefully constructed strategies are required when conducting searches for adverse effects data Golder, Su et al. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, Volume 113, 36 - 43 ↩