Scientific article
Open access

Safety signal detection: the relevance of literature review

Published inDrug safety, vol. 37, no. 7, p. 471-479
Publication date2014

Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) represent an important risk for patients and have a significant economic impact on health systems. ADRs are the fifth most common cause of hospital death, with a burden estimated at 197,000 deaths per year in the EU. This has a societal cost of 79 billion per year. Because of this strong impact in public health, regulatory authorities (RAs) worldwide are implementing new pharmacovigilance legislation to promote and protect public health by reducing the burden of ADRs through the detection of safety signals. Although, traditionally, signal detection activities have mainly been performed based on spontaneous reporting from healthcare professionals and national health RAs, the new pharmacovigilance legislation underlines the relevance of other sources of information (such as scientific literature) for the evaluation of the benefit-risk balance of a certain product. This review aims to highlight the relevance of periodic scientific literature screening in the safety signal detection process. The authors present four practical examples where a safety signal that was detected from a literature report had an impact on the lifecycle of a drug. In addition, based on practical experience of the screening of medical and scientific literature for safety purposes, this article analyses the requirements of the new pharmacovigilance guidelines on literature screening and highlights the need for the implementation of a literature review procedure and the main challenges encountered when performing literature screening for safety aspects.

  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems/legislation & jurisprudence/organization & administration
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions/epidemiology/prevention & control
  • European Union
  • Government Regulation
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Patient Safety/legislation & jurisprudence/standards
  • Pharmacovigilance
  • Review Literature as Topic
Citation (ISO format)
PONTES, Helena, CLEMENT, Mallorie, ROLLASON, Victoria. Safety signal detection: the relevance of literature review. In: Drug safety, 2014, vol. 37, n° 7, p. 471–479. doi: 10.1007/s40264-014-0180-9
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0114-5916

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