(2000; 28 pages) [French]
2. DEFINITION AND AIMS
Pharmacovigilance is concerned with the detection, assessment and prevention of adverse reactions to drugs. Major aims of pharmacovigilance are:
1. Early detection of hitherto unknown adverse reactions and interactions
2. Detection of increases in frequency of (known) adverse reactions
3. Identification of risk factors and possible mechanisms underlying adverse reactions
4. Estimation of quantitative aspects of benefit/risk analysis and dissemination of information needed to improve drug prescribing and regulation.
The ultimate goals of pharmacovigilance are:
• the rational and safe use of medical drugs
• the assessment and communication of the risks and benefits of drugs on the market
• educating and informing of patients.
Spontaneous reporting - a regional or country-wide system for the reporting of suspected adverse drug reactions - is the primary method in pharmacovigilance. In addition, other methods of data-collection exist or are under development (see § 8.5 and 10).