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Pharmacovigilance as a tool for safety and monitoring: a review of general issues and the specific challenges with end-stage renal failure patients

Authors Jacob D, Marrón B, Ehrlich J, Rutherford PA

Received 22 January 2013

Accepted for publication 27 February 2013

Published 15 April 2013 Volume 2013:5 Pages 105—112


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Dalia Jacob,1 Belén Marrón,2 Jay Ehrlich,1 Peter A Rutherford3

1Baxter Healthcare Corporation, Deerfield, IL, USA; 2Baxter Healthcare Corporation, Madrid, Spain; 3Baxter Healthcare SA, Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract: Pharmacovigilance is instrumental in helping to ensure patient safety for both newly released drugs and those that are well established in the market. However, while pharmacovigilance procedures are strictly regulated in the clinical trial setting, post-marketing adverse event reporting is not well implemented or enforced. As such, the underreporting of adverse events, in relation to drugs that are on the market, is estimated to be in the region of 90%. The identification of drug safety issues in patients with complex diseases and extensive comorbidities is therefore particularly challenging. Dialysis patients – those with end-stage renal disease and often other comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease – are a population with significant treatment challenges. Patients receive dialysis using complex medical devices (eg, a peritoneal dialysis home cycler) and also receive a range of pharmaceutical agents as part of dialysis itself (eg, peritoneal dialysis solutions). Many of the pharmaceutical agents used to treat these patients have been developed in populations without these complications and, therefore, an extensive knowledge of potential problems and contraindications in the dialysis population is lacking. It is important that the nephrology community understands the concept of pharmacovigilance – the pharmacologic science relating to the detection, assessment, understanding, and prevention of adverse effects, particularly long-term and short-term side effects, of medicines. Health care professionals (HCPs) and providers, pharmaceutical companies, global regulatory agencies, and the patients themselves all play unique and critical roles in this process. This review defines the science of pharmacovigilance and the process of adverse event reporting, highlights the new directions that pharmacovigilance has taken, and provides insight for HCPs managing dialysis patients into the important role that they play in helping to shape the understanding of a drug's safety profile in order to continually enhance patient safety.

Keywords: adverse events, drug safety, peritoneal fluids, comorbidities, dialysis, end-stage renal disease

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