Report medicine side effects, campaign urges

DOCTORS are being urged to report side effects from over-the-counter medicines in a new social media campaign from the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The agency hopes to encourage more clinicians to use the online Yellow Card Scheme as part of an EU-wide awareness week.

MHRA said they rely on reports of suspected side effects to make sure medicines are safe but, like all systems, had suffered from “under-reporting”.

While medicines are safe and effective, MHRA said side effects can happen, even with over-the-counter medicines. They are using the campaign to highlight how important it is that risks associated with all medicines are understood and communicated to health professionals and patients.

They said potential side effects ranged from a headache or sore stomach, to flu-like symptoms or just 'feeling a bit off' and reporting these can help regulators monitor medicines on the market and take action as appropriate.

Mick Foy, Group Manager for MHRA's Vigilance and Risk Management of Medicines division, said: “The most important part of our work is making sure the medicines you and your family take are effective and acceptably safe.

"Our campaign will help the public, patients and healthcare professionals report potential side effects and have confidence that their reports are making a difference. You can help make medicines safer by reporting any suspected side effects easily and quickly online through the Yellow Card Scheme.”

The campaign is part of the Strengthening Collaboration for Operating Pharmacovigilance in Europe (SCOPE) Joint Action project.

Side effects and other concerns can be raised in the Yellow Card website yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk