Drug Safety

, Volume 37, Issue 8, pp 629–637 | Cite as

Undesirable Effects Related to Oral Antineoplastic Drugs: Comparison Between Patients’ Internet Narratives and a National Pharmacovigilance Database

  • Arnaud Pages
  • Emmanuelle Bondon-Guitton
  • Jean Louis Montastruc
  • Haleh Bagheri
Original Research Article



The Internet is changing the way people learn about health and illness. Over the previous decade, the oral antineoplastic (OAN) agents have changed patient management allowing more ambulatory care. In this regard, websites could be an interesting source of data about OAN-induced adverse events (AEs).


The aim of the study was to describe the characteristics of AEs, as reported on websites by patients exposed to OAN agents, and to compare these to those recorded in the French pharmacovigilance database (FPVD).


We performed a retrospective study to collect AEs reported by patients in five of the best-known website forums in France over 1 year (2011). For each report, we recorded demographic data, cancer type, drug involved and AEs. The same analysis was done in the FPVD for OAN-induced adverse drug reactions (ADRs).


A total of 202 AEs were identified in website posts and 1,448 ADRs were found in the FPVD. The most cited drugs in websites were protein kinase inhibitors (n = 88, 43.5 %) and hormone antagonists (n = 61, 30.2 %). More musculoskeletal disorder reports were found in the patient websites compared with the FPVD (16.34 vs. 4.70 %, p < 0.001). As for skin disorders, we collected fewer reports in the patient website forums than in the FPVD (13.37 vs. 22.17 %, p = 0.004). AEs reported in the patient websites were less serious (n = 10, 4.95 %) than ADRs recorded in the FPVD (n = 999, 68.99 %) (p < 0.001).


AEs reported in the website forums are considered by patients to be relevant enough to be shared. Data from patient websites could be used as a source of data to detect AEs alongside conventional pharmacovigilance.


Sunitinib Letrozole Dasatinib Anastrozole Nilotinib 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this study.

Conflict of interest

Arnaud pages, Emmanuelle Bondon-Guitton, Jean Louis Montastruc and Haleh Bagheri have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this study.

Supplementary material

40264_2014_203_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (139 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 138 kb)
40264_2014_203_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (138 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 137 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnaud Pages
    • 1
  • Emmanuelle Bondon-Guitton
    • 1
  • Jean Louis Montastruc
    • 1
  • Haleh Bagheri
    • 1
  1. 1.Service de Pharmacologie Médicale et Clinique, Centre Midi-Pyrénées de PharmacoVigilance, de Pharmacoépidémiologie et d’Informations sur le Médicament, INSERM U1027, Faculté de MédecineCHU de Toulouse, Université de ToulouseToulouseFrance

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