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Veterinary medicine: Reporting adverse drug reactions

From Dr M. H. Jepson, FRPharmS

There are many pharmacists who are not aware that the reporting of suspected adverse drug reactions (SADRs) can and should include the suspected effects of veterinary medicines on humans, as well as on animals.

The importance and evaluation of SADR reports has increased since the recent acceptance of reports by patients, preferably with pharmacist guidance. This has been reported in the PJ previously (PJ, 9 February 2008, p139).

Large numbers of community pharmacy patients and customers have pets and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) annual report indicates that, for example, about 50 per cent of reports of SADRs affecting humans relate to ecto- and endo-parasiticides as well as endectocides, including companion animal sprays and spot-on products.

If inappropriately applied, sprays can be inhaled and spot-on products splashed onto human skin, especially when users fail to read guidance information properly or have been given no verbal advice. A lack of awareness of the severe adverse reactions surveillance scheme (SARSS) probably accounts for the few reports the VMD receives from pharmacists.

Marketing authorisation holders make up the majority of reports to the SARSS and, maybe, are the channels by which some pharmacists submit reports.

Concerns have recently been reported by the Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority to the VMD that some pharmacists are not giving sufficient verbal advice to those purchasing products reclassified from prescription only medicine (veterinarian) to prescription only medicine (veterinarian, pharmacist or suitably qualified person) or non-food animal medicine (veterinarian, pharmacist or suitably qualified person). An example is the cat flea treatment Frontline (fipronil).

The compendium of datasheets for animal medicines is available online.

Information and reporting forms are available from: The Suspected Adverse Reaction Surveillance Scheme, Freepost KT 4503, Veterinary Medicines Directorate, Woodham Lane, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3BR

(tel 01932 338427; fax 01932 336618; website

One side of the yellow A4-size reporting forms is for reporting an SADR in humans; the other side is for reporting one in animals.

Michael H. Jepson

Veterinary Pharmacists Committee

Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10027836

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