Help make medicines safer: Promoting awareness of suspected side effects

News article

19 November 2018

Medsafe is calling on patients to help ensure the medicines they take are safe and effective.

This week Medsafe is one of 32 medicines regulators taking part in a global campaign to promote the importance of reporting suspected side effects from medicines.

Regulators, including those in the European Union, Australia and Mexico will jointly focus on raising reporting numbers for suspected side effects in infants and children, and during pregnancy, including when breastfeeding. 

Any suspicions of an adverse reaction to a medicine should be reported to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM).

While medicines are safe and effective, side effects can still occur. It is important the risks associated with all medicines are understood and communicated to healthcare professionals and their patients, including parents and carers and people planning for or expecting a baby.

Potential side effects may range from a headache or stomach ache, to flu-like symptoms or even just ‘feeling a bit off’, and reporting these can help medicines regulators monitor medicines on the market and take action, if needed, to prevent future harm. 

Medsafe relies on the reporting of suspected side effects to make sure medicines on the market are acceptably safe. That’s why this week’s push to promote the reporting of suspected side effects is so important.

Medsafe Group Manager Chris James says regulators treat the information patients provide confidentially and seriously. 

He says that’s why it’s so important patients can feel confident that their reports are making a difference.

“The most important part of our work is making sure the medicines patients and their family take are effective and acceptably safe. Our campaign will help raise awareness with parents and carers, including expectant mothers and those planning to have a baby.”

“Children and infants can react differently to medicines than adults. It’s important for parents and carers to read the medicine’s consumer information leaflet and ensure they are giving the medicine in the right dose.

“Medicines people take during pregnancy or breastfeeding can also sometimes take sometimes affect their baby. “

If you need to take medicine during pregnancy or breastfeeding, or if you are planning on having a baby, it’s essential you discuss your treatment, including any potential side effects, with your doctor or healthcare professional,” says Mr James.

“Everyone can help make medicines safer by reporting any suspected side effects easily and quickly online to CARM.”