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Public urged to report side effects

18th February 2008

The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) have launched a new scheme to encourage the public to speak out if they experience side-effects after using medication.

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They want pharmacists to act with them to help in the promotion and improved use of the "Yellow Card" scheme.

Dr June Raine, from the MHRA, said: "We are keen to let people know that whilst their medicines have important benefits, they may also have unwanted side-effects."

The Yellow Card project began in 1964 after the Thalidomide disaster and has been useful in reporting adverse effects in medicines.

Although medication has to undergo thorough testing before it is released for prescription or use by the public, there is the chance that it could react with other medicines or substances in an unexpected way.

Yellow Cards were useful to scientists as they proved that cranberry juice could lessen the effects of warfarin ( a blood thinner). Reports in 2001 also showed there was a link between Zyban - prescribed to help people to stop smoking - and seizures.

The MHRA said they wanted community pharmacists to increase the number of reports, as the vast majority of the 20,000 reports they received annually came from doctors.

Dr Raine said people could find Yellow Card form at their local pharmacist or write up a report online.

A spokesman for the National Pharmacy Association, an organisation which represents community pharmacists, said: "I think the MHRA have now made them much easier to use for the public. We wholeheartedly support this and are encouraging our members to promote the scheme."

 

 

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