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Adverse drug reaction reports rise by almost a fifth

By Nigel Praities

Reporting of adverse drug reactions rose nearly a fifth last year, due to a huge rise in the number of patients submitting yellow cards.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency introduced an online scheme for patients to report adverse events last year, and this has resulted in a 50% increase in yellow cards reported by the public.

Overall 25,000 yellow cards were submitted in 2008, a rise of 17%. This information led to warnings over suicidal thoughts and behaviour with the smoking cessation drug varenicline and the complete withdrawal of the licence for the obesity treatment rimonabant.

Dr June Raine, director of vigilance and risk management at the MHRA, said the extra information resulted in faster warnings about drugs.

‘We are grateful that the public is hearing our message that no medicine is risk-free and has taken an active role in reporting side effects to us.

‘If you suspect that you have had a side effect to your medicine, please tell us about it via the Yellow Card Scheme. Ask your pharmacist for a Yellow Card or better still report online,' she said.

25,000 yellow cards were reported last year, a 17% increase

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