If you are worried about a suspected side effect, you should seek medical advice from a doctor or pharmacist. You can also get information by calling: NHS 111 Service by dialing '111' (textphone 18001 111) in England and Scotland, or from 0845 46 47 (textphone 0845 606 4647) in Wales.
The MHRA advises that you consult your health professional about any suspected side effect or adverse reaction from a medicine that you are worried about. The MHRA cannot provide medical advice in individual cases.
Information on Medicines
All medicines come with a leaflet that gives instructions on how the medicine should be used, and gives information on its side effects. This is called the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL), and you can find this plus further information for most of the medicines available in the United Kingdom, on the web at www.medicines.org.uk. The British National Formulary is another useful regular publication that provides healthcare professionals with up-to-date information about the use of medicines. The British National Formulary can be accessed on the web at http://www.bnf.org/, while hard copies should be available at your local public library or at a pharmacy.
The company that makes the medicine can also provide more information about their product such as a full list of the known side effects to their medicines. The name of the company that made the medicine will be found on the medicine packaging and the patient information leaflet.
Drug Safety Update – monthly publication about medicines and their side effects
Drug Safety Update is a monthly electronic publication which aims to update healthcare professionals on the latest safety information and guidance on use of medicines. This bulletin is produced by the MHRA and the Commission on Human Medicines and is intended for all doctors, dentists, pharmacists and coroners in the United Kingdom. If you would like to receive an e-mail notification when new issues of Drug Safety Update are published, please subscribe to our free e-mail alerting service at www.mhra.gov.uk/drugsafetyupdate.
Yellow Card data
Reports of suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) received in the UK by the MHRA through the Yellow Card Scheme are provided in lists for each medicine. These are known as drug analysis prints and can be accessed at Drug Analysis Prints.
A Yellow Card reports a suspicion of a side effect being due to a medicine. Therefore it is not possible to draw definite conclusions on the safety of a particular medicine from information received on Yellow Card reports alone, without referring to other scientific research.
More information on What happens to a Yellow Card, Looking for potential drug safety issues in Yellow Card data and the Impact of the Yellow Card Scheme are available on the MHRA website.
Drawing on and contributing to knowledge on adverse effects
A learning package on pharmacovigilance for clinical practitioners is available. Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists all stand to benefit from the learning package that will make them more aware of their role in protecting patients from preventable harm.
This self-directed learning resource covers:
- How information on adverse effects of medicines is assembled
- How to find authoritative information on the risk of individual medicines, and
- How to fill in a Yellow Card and contribute to our knowledge on possible harms.
The module concludes with exercises and a reading list for those wanting to learn more.