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Relevance of the Weber effect in contemporary pharmacovigilance of oncology drugs

Authors Arora A, Jalali RK, Vohora D

Received 15 March 2017

Accepted for publication 23 June 2017

Published 11 September 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 1195—1203


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Garry Walsh

Ankur Arora,1,2 Rajinder K Jalali,1,2 Divya Vohora1

1School of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, India; 2Medical Affairs and Clinical Research, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Limited, Gurgaon, Haryana, India

Background: Numerous reporting biases have been known to affect spontaneous reporting databases. The Weber effect, which constitutes a peak in adverse event (AE) reporting of a drug at the end of second year after regulatory approval followed by a continuous decline thereafter, has been considered an important bias for a long time. The existence of this bias in AE reporting of oncology drugs remains an underevaluated area, prompting a targeted examination.
Methods: The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) was studied for AE reporting patterns of 5 years of 15 new molecular entities (NMEs) and biologics used in oncology. This 5-year period started from the USFDA date of approval for the NMEs and biologics. The number of AEs reported for each of the drugs was plotted against time (years). The AE reporting patterns were specifically examined for the existence of the Weber effect. In addition, AE reporting rate patterns of 5 years of seven NMEs and biologics used in oncology were examined.
Results: A total of 50,630 AE reports were logged in to the FAERS for all 15 drugs examined for AE reporting patterns. We observed five distinct AE reporting patterns for 15 drugs; however, none of the AE patterns were identical to the Weber effect. We did not observe a consistent AE reporting rate pattern for the seven drugs examined for AE reporting rates. With the exception of one drug (cetuximab), none of the drugs exhibited a second-year peak in AE reporting rates. This peak was not followed by continuous decline in AE reporting rate thereafter.
Conclusion: This study does not support the existence of the Weber effect in AE reporting of oncology drugs. The contemporary AE reporting of oncology drugs does not exhibit a consistent pattern.

Keywords: Weber effect, adverse event reporting patterns, oncology drugs, USFDA, FAERS

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