How to catch Rx problems early

At a meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), a group of brain and behavior researchers recommended a drug surveillance system to cut down on adverse effects related to prescription drugs. The researchers think that a computerized monitoring system would be able to quickly detect negative side effects, protecting patients from harmful drugs. At the moment, there is no such system in place. "The current U.S. health care system only accidentally detects rare but serious harmful effects of prescription medications," Charles P. O'Brien, ACNP's Human Research Committee, said in a statement. The group suggested three steps that could improve patient safety:

  • First, the FDA should allow drugs to come to market sooner for patients who desperately need them, but should limit how much companies can promote their drugs.
  • Second, a computerized system that integrates patient and pharmacy records and would allow regulators to see if there are any side effects or drug interactions that weren't detected during clinical trials should be implemented.
  • Finally, the ACNP should improve training so that those working with information from the computerized system will know how to recognize red flags in the data.

For more on the ACNP's recommendations:
- take a look at their Web site