Reporting adverse drug reactions is your responsibility
Receiving a diagnosis of Arthritis will undoubtedly mean that at some point, medications will be prescribed and taken. We all would like to believe that drugs are completely safe when they are approved for use in Canada. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Those of us “veterans” know that every drug, including many purchased over the counter, without prescription, have potential risks. Whether those risks outweigh the potential benefits is a decision we will all have to make, keeping in mind the indisputable fact that the testing of new drugs in a clinical trial setting cannot reveal every possible side effect. What if a specific reaction only happens in one out of every five thousand participants and there were only two thousand people in the trial? It would then show up only when the drug enters the marketplace. If we do not report these reactions, they may not get captured. I am sure some of you have experienced a side effect to a new medication, only to be told that it isn’t listed, therefore it can’t be real.
Until now, self-reporting by consumers has been extremely challenging starting with the medical degree needed just to understand the form! Consequently, only ten percent of adverse reactions are reported, some believe it could be closer to one percent.
Patient organizations, like CAPA have been asking for a consumer friendly form for some time and one will soon be available. You may obtain it from: www.healthcanada.gc.ca/medeffect. Click on “Adverse Reaction Reporting”. Canada Vigilance has regional offices that you may contact. If you would like a form mailed to you, include a self-addressed stamped return envelope. All of us have a responsibility for the safest use of medications possible.