Published: 20 November 2017

Safety Information

Adverse Reaction Reporting Week

Help make medicines safer by reporting suspected side effects: Medsafe, the Ministry of Health and CARM launch social media campaign

From 20-24 November, Medsafe, the Ministry of Health and CARM are running a social media campaign to promote the reporting of suspected side effects from medicines. The campaign forms part of the second EU-wide awareness week with a focus this year on over-the-counter medicines.

While medicines are safe and effective, side effects can happen, even with over-the-counter medicines. It is important the risks associated with the use of medicines are understood and communicated to healthcare professionals and patients.

Potential side effects may range from a headache or sore stomach, to flu-like symptoms or just ‘feeling a bit off’. Reporting helps regulators monitor medicines on the market and take action as appropriate. It’s also useful to report suspected side effects that happen when taking more than one medicine, after long term use, or from interactions with food or other products.

Regulators such as Medsafe rely on the reporting of suspected side effects to make sure medicines on the market are acceptably safe. Unfortunately, all reporting systems suffer from under reporting – that’s why our campaign is important to both raise awareness and help strengthen the system.

“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 suspected side effects and have confidence that their reports are making a difference.

“When taking a medicine make sure it’s right for you. It’s important to always remember to read the information leaflet that comes with it, including how much to take, how to take it and about any known side effects - never take more than advised or on the packaging. If in doubt, speak to a healthcare professional.”

“You can help make medicines safer by reporting any suspected side effects easily and quickly online through”

The campaign awareness week was born out of the Strengthening Collaboration for Operating Pharmacovigilance in Europe (SCOPE) Joint Action project. One of its main aims is to raise awareness of national reporting systems for suspected side effects in medicines. This year it is supported by the World Health Organisation’s Uppsala Monitoring Centre.

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