Objective To investigate: (1) the feasibility of establishing active paediatric surveillance for adverse drug reactions (ADRs), (2) whether electronic reporting is effective and (3) whether such a system could complement the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) yellow card system.
Design Between January 2006 and February 2007 ADRs in children under 16 were reported each month by consultant paediatricians and paediatric pharmacists in Scotland. For 8 months respondents received a postal card, after which half were selected to report electronically via an email card for a further 6 months and half continued with the postal card. Reports of paediatric ADRs severe enough to warrant hospital admission or to delay discharge of hospitalised patients or resulting from an outpatient prescription were followed up. A postal questionnaire evaluated the system at the end of the study.
Results Following a 2-month lead-in period, 83% of the cards were returned over the year, 84% by paediatricians and 82% by pharmacists. With electronic reporting the response rate was 80%. Eighty-seven confirmed reports of a drug being associated with one or more adverse reactions were reported in 67 children. Only eight children were also identified through the MHRA yellow card system. Respondents indicated continuing willingness to contribute to an active (preferably electronic) reporting system.
Conclusions Active paediatric ADR surveillance is feasible; electronic reporting is effective and data collected are different to, but could complement, those collected by the MHRA yellow card.
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Funding This is an independent report commissioned and funded by the Policy Research Programme in the Department of Health and RCPCH. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the department.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the East London and the city LREC – (05/Q0603/147).