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Adverse drug reactions (ADRs): a patient perspective on assessment and prevention in primary care

ABritish MedicalAssociation(BMA)report Reporting Adverse Drug Reactions, May 2006, estimated that 250 000 people a year are admitted to hospital suffering harmful effects of prescription drugs at a cost to the NHSof about £466 million a year. This is based on a 2004 study of hospital admissions. The BMAreport draws attention to a crisis in public health that is largely being ignored and considers how medical education is failing both patients and doctors. The number of patients suffering and deaths due to adverse drug reactions (ADRs), addiction and withdrawal problems is underestimated, often unrecognised and not well reported. Ignoring the problem is costly in financial and human terms. The following paper describes the importance of the patient experience and recommends the need for systematic changes in practice and education of both the profession and the public in the recognition of ADRs. The paper includes recommendations for primary care trusts to be proactive in encouraging professional and patient Yellow Card ADR reporting, and to remind doctors of their moral duty to inform coroners of possible ADRs that may have preceded sudden death, suicide or fatal accidents. The paper concludes by emphasising the need for good practice in monitoring the sideeffectsof medicines, in order that patients gain the maximum benefits from their medicines


Millie Kieve

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