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Underreporting of Adverse Drug Reactions: Attitudes of Irish doctors

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Despite the fundamental importance of reporting of suspected adverse drug reactions, less than 10 per cent of serious adverse drug reactions are reported. To further enhance our understanding of doctors’ knowledge and attitudes to the current Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR) reporting scheme we surveyed 158 doctors, including some 106 general practitioners and 23 hospital-based doctors. The response rate was 39.5 per cent. The majority had experience of reporting an ADR. Seriousness of the ADR appears to be the most important reason for reporting. Uncertainty that the adverse drug reaction was definitely caused by the medicine, that the adverse drug reaction was too trivial to report or that it was too well known a reaction to report are common reasons for not reporting. Of concern 84 per cent of doctors are unaware of the criteria of the National Drug Regulatory Agency indicating the need for additional education and information in this regard.

We also found considerable disagreements in doctors’ understanding of the meaning of common, occasional, rare, or very rare as applied to ADRs.

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Williams, D., Feely, J. Underreporting of Adverse Drug Reactions: Attitudes of Irish doctors. Ir. J. Med. Sc. 168, 257–261 (1999).

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