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J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2013 Dec;4(Suppl 1):S73-7. doi: 10.4103/0976-500X.120957.

Clinical and economic burden of adverse drug reactions.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Messina, Messina, Italy.


Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are unwanted drug effects that have considerable economic as well as clinical costs as they often lead to hospital admission, prolongation of hospital stay and emergency department visits. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are the main premarketing methods used to detect and quantify ADRs but these have several limitations, such as limited study sample size and limited heterogeneity due to the exclusion of the frailest patients. In addition, ADRs due to inappropriate medication use occur often in the real world of clinical practice but not in RCTs. Postmarketing drug safety monitoring through pharmacovigilance activities, including mining of spontaneous reporting and carrying out observational prospective cohort or retrospective database studies, allow longer follow-up periods of patients with a much wider range of characteristics, providing valuable means for ADR detection, quantification and where possible reduction, reducing healthcare costs in the process. Overall, pharmacovigilance is aimed at identifying drug safety signals as early as possible, thus minimizing potential clinical and economic consequences of ADRs. The goal of this review is to explore the epidemiology and the costs of ADRs in routine care.


Adverse drug reactions; costs; pharmacovigilance; randomized controlled trials

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