Pharmacovigilance : spontaneous reporting in health care

Abstract: Pharmacovigilance in healthcare is essential for safe drug treatment. Spontaneous reporting is the most common source of information in the context of implementing label changes and taking a drug off the market. However, underreporting is found to be very prevalent. One way to decrease underreporting is to include different categories of healthcare professionals in such reporting and to investigate attitudes towards and incentives for reporting adverse drug reaction (ADR)s.As nurses form the largest group of health professionals, a sample of nurses were allowed and encouraged to report ADR during a 12 month period after they had received training in pharmacovigilance. A questionnaire posted to physicians and nurses investigated their knowledge and attitudes towards reporting. Spontaneous reports of torsade de pointes (TdP) and erectile dysfunction (ED) were scrutinized with respect to the reported drugs, risk factors and if the reaction was listed in the summary of product characteristics (SPC).After training, the nurses produced relevant reports and three years after the introduction of nurses in the reporting scheme, more than half of the responding nurses were aware of their role as reporters. Both nurses and physicians stated that the most important factor for reporting a suspected ADR was the severity of the ADR and an ADR arising in response to a newly approved drug. A web-based reporting system was deemed to facilitate the reporting. In spontaneous reports of TdP, citalopram was reported as a suspected drug. However, neither QT prolongations, nor TdP, were labelled in the SPC. ED was reported for all antihypertensive drugs including angiotensin II type I blockers. A positive information component (IC), assessing the disproportionality between the observed and the expected number of reports, was found indicating that ED was reported more often in association with antihypertensive drug classes, except for angiotensinconverting enzyme inhibitors.This thesis demonstrates the importance of pharmacoviglilance in healthcare in terms of capturing new signals. By including nurses as reporters, the overall safety of drugs might improve. Information and education are needed to secure safe treatment when applying drugs.