Support our second social media campaign for suspected adverse drug reactions

We are running a second social media campaign to promote the reporting of suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) to the Yellow Card Scheme in support of the ADR awareness week taking place 20-24 November 2017. The main message of the campaign is that reporting helps the safe use of medicines to protect public health. This year there is a focus on over-the-counter medicines; however, the message is applicable to those on general sale.

What can healthcare professionals and their organisations do?

Over-the-counter medicines: why reporting adverse reactions is still important

Over-the-counter medicines are an important way for patients to manage their own health. Medicines available over-the-counter are acceptably safe and effective when used in accordance with instructions and under the guidance of pharmacists.

MHRA continually reviews the safety of all medicines, including those available over-the-counter or on general sale. Some adverse drug reactions can only be identified when medicines are used for a long time in a wide range of different people, so it is very important that adverse drug reactions are reported to the Yellow Card Scheme, even when the medicine was not prescribed. Healthcare professionals and patients can also report cases of medication error or misuse or abuse of medicines; thereby helping to identify important safety issues.

You can raise awareness with your patients by talking about these key messages:

  • just because you can buy a medicine without a prescription, it doesn’t mean you might not have any suspected side effects
  • always read the information, including the leaflet, about how much medicine to take, how to take it, and about any known side effects
  • do not exceed the recommended dose or duration of treatment
  • reporting suspected side effects to the Yellow Card Scheme helps to identify information about a medicine that might not have been known before
  • patients should tell any healthcare professional about side effects they may have had and can report directly themselves via the Yellow Card Scheme website
  • it’s also useful to report suspected side effects that happen when taking more than one medicine, or after long-term use, or from interactions with food or other products

Campaign material freely available for reuse include a general animation about reporting and infographics, which are also available on the Yellow Card reporting website.

SCOPE ADR campaign

The reporting of suspected ADRs is key to patient safety. This campaign builds on the first award-winning EU wide campaign, led by the MHRA, which reached over 2.5 million people to help encourage greater local and national awareness about the importance of reporting to support the earlier detection of safety issues.

We also have dedicated guidance on the Yellow Card Scheme for healthcare professionals including accredited CPD e-learning modules.

Healthcare professionals are reminded to report any suspected adverse reactions to the Yellow Card Scheme to all medicines including:

  • vaccines
  • blood factors and immunoglobulins
  • herbal medicines
  • homeopathic remedies

Article citation: Drug Safety Update volume 11 issue 4; November 2017: 4.

Published 24 November 2017