New tool developed to reduce adverse drug reactions

February 22, 2017, University of Liverpool

Researchers at the University of Liverpool, Alder Hey, University of Central Lancashire and University College London have developed a new tool to help avoid adverse reactions to medicines.

Medicines are an important part of treating and preventing disease in adults and . The ideal medicine would have no side effects or (ADRs) as they are also called, but the reality is all medicines can cause unwanted effects, in some people.

Medicines can have different effects on different people. The effects in children can vary due to changes that take place as they grow and develop. When healthcare professionals prescribe a medicine, they weigh up the benefits of the medicine against the risk of an ADR.

Avoidable

Previous research at Alder Hey found that three out of every 100 children admitted to hospital experience an ADR due to a medicine taken at home. 22% of these ADRs might have been avoidable. Examples of ADRs which were avoidable included: diarrhoea with antibiotics, and constipation with medicines given to relieve pain and vomiting related to chemotherapy.

The team also found that around 1 in 6 children experienced at least one ADR whilst in hospital, which is similar to findings in adults. More than half of the ADRs seen in children in hospital were due to medicines used in general anaesthesia and for the treatment of pain after surgery.

Most of the ADRs were not severe and resolved soon after the medicine was stopped. The five most common ADRs seen were nausea and/or vomiting, itching, constipation, diarrhoea and sleepiness.

Personalised medicine

Dr Louise Bracken is a Research Pharmacist from the University's Department of Women's and Children's Health. She is based at the Paediatric Medicines Research Unit at Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

Of the research Dr Bracken said: "Assessing the avoidability of ADRs is a complex process which requires consideration of a number of factors.

"Identifying ADRs which might be avoidable can help us to improve practice which can help to reduce the number of children who have an ADR. The new tool will help us to identify the ADRs which we can prevent.

"The use of technology (such as Electronic Prescribing) could be a potential strategy to reduce ADRs. Changing guidelines, educating patients and or/their parents on their medicines and raising awareness of ADRs amongst could help us to reduce this figure even further. Advances in pharmacogenetics may represent the ultimate method of avoidability.

"Pharmacogenetics aims to optimise the use of medicines, by targeting medicines to patient's individual genes. This is called 'personalised medicine'. It is important that we find out which ADRs could be avoided so that we can change the way we do things to reduce the risk of children experiencing the same ADRs in the future."

This research has been published in PLOS ONE a peer reviewed journal.

Yellow card scheme

In the UK, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) monitors the safety of medicines. If information indicates that the risk regarding a medicine has changed since it was authorised, regulatory bodies can take action.

Health care professionals, patients and carers are encouraged to report side effects to the MHRA using the yellow card scheme yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/ which means everyone can help to make medicines for children (and adults) safer.

Explore further: Study reveals scope and characteristics of adverse drug reactions in the general population

More information: Louise E. Bracken et al. Development of the Liverpool Adverse Drug Reaction Avoidability Assessment Tool, PLOS ONE (2017). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169393

Related Stories

Study reveals scope and characteristics of adverse drug reactions in the general population

September 19, 2016
In a study of 1000 adult patients with unplanned admission to a tertiary hospital in Singapore, the prevalence of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) at the time of admission was 12.4 percent, and the prevalence of ADRs causing ...

Nurse-led monitoring improves the care of patients prescribed mental health medicines

November 16, 2016
New research has found that nurse-led medicines' monitoring can prevent serious adverse side effects of medicines prescribed to people with mental health problems and previously unnoticed health problems in patients can also ...

Recent increase in adverse TMP-SMX reactions in children

December 3, 2012
(HealthDay)—There has been a significant increase in adverse drug reactions (ADRs) associated with use of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) for treatment of skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI) in children, according ...

Adverse drug reactions in children following use of asthma medications

October 27, 2014
The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences) In a new study based on EU adverse drug reaction reports, researchers at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Southern Denmark now document that children's use of ...

Recommended for you

Calcium and Vitamin D supplements are not associated with risk of heart attacks

February 16, 2018
New research from the University of Southampton has found no association between the use of calcium or vitamin D supplementation and cardiovascular events such as heart attacks.

Study shows options to decrease risk of motor vehicle crashes for adolescent drivers

February 16, 2018
Adolescents who receive comprehensive and challenging on-road driving assessments prior to taking the license test might be protected from future motor vehicle crashes, according to a University of Alabama at Birmingham study ...

Being a single dad can shorten your life: study

February 15, 2018
The risk of dying prematurely more than doubles for single fathers compared to single mothers or paired-up dads, according to a study of Canadian families published Thursday.

Keeping an eye on the entire ageing process

February 15, 2018
Medical researchers often only focus on a single disease. As older people often suffer from multiple diseases at the same time, however, we need to rethink this approach, writes Ralph Müller.

Study suggests possible link between highly processed foods and cancer

February 14, 2018
A study published by The BMJ today reports a possible association between intake of highly processed ("ultra-processed") food in the diet and cancer.

Gov't says health costs to keep growing faster than economy

February 14, 2018
U.S. health care spending will keep growing faster than the overall economy in the foreseeable future, squeezing public insurance programs and employers who provide coverage, the government said Wednesday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.