Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 14

Pharmacovigilance Related Abstracts

14 On the Quantum Behavior of Nanoparticles: Quantum Theory and Nano-Pharmacology

Authors: Kurudzirayi Robson Musikavanhu

Abstract:

Nanophase particles exhibit quantum behavior by virtue of their small size, being particles of gamma to x-ray wavelength [atomic range]. Such particles exhibit high frequencies, high energy/photon, high penetration power, high ionization power [atomic behavior] and are stable at low energy levels as opposed to bulk phase matter [macro particles] which exhibit higher wavelength [radio wave end] properties, hence lower frequency, lower energy/photon, lower penetration power, lower ionizing power and are less stable at low temperatures. The ‘unique’ behavioral motion of Nano systems will remain a mystery as long as quantum theory remains a mystery, and for pharmacology, pharmacovigilance profiling of Nano systems becomes virtually impossible. Quantum theory is the 4 – 3 – 5 electromagnetic law of life and life motion systems on planet earth. Electromagnetic [wave-particle] properties of all particulate matter changes as mass [bulkiness] changes from one phase to the next [Nano-phase to micro-phase to milli-phase to meter-phase to kilometer phase etc.] and the subsequent electromagnetic effect of one phase particle on bulk matter [different phase] changes from one phase to another. All matter exhibit electromagnetic properties [wave-particle duality] in behavior and the lower the wavelength [and the lesser the bulkiness] the higher the gamma ray end properties exhibited and the higher the wavelength [and the greater the bulkiness], the more the radio-wave end properties are exhibited. Quantum theory is the 4 [moon] – 3[sun] – [earth] 5 law of the Electromagnetic spectrum [solar system]. 4 + 3 = 7; 4 + 3 + 5 = 12; 4 * 3 * 5 = 60; 42 + 32 = 52; 43 + 33 + 53 = 63. Quantum age is overdue.

Keywords: Quantum Theory, Pharmacovigilance, nano-material, electromagnetic solar system, nano pharmacology

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13 Adverse Drug Reactions Monitoring in the Northern Region of Zambia

Authors: Ponshano Kaselekela, Simooya O. Oscar, Lunshano Boyd

Abstract:

The Copperbelt University Health Services (CBUHS) was designated by the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA), formally the Pharmaceutical Regulatory Authority (PRA) as a regional pharmacovigilance centre to carryout activities of drug safety monitoring in four provinces in Zambia. CBUHS’s mandate included stimulating the reporting of adverse drug reactions (ADRs), as well as collecting and collating ADR reports from health institutions in the four provinces. This report covers the researchers’ experiences from May 2008 to September, 2016. The main objectives are 1) to monitor ADRs in the Zambian population, 2) to disseminate information to all health professionals in the region advising that the CBU health was a centre for reporting ADRs in the region, 3) to monitor polypharmacy as well as the benefit-risk profile of medicines, 4) to generate independent, evidence based recommendations on the safety of medicines, 5) to support ZAMRA in formulating safety related regulatory decisions for medicines, and 6) to communicate findings with all key stakeholders. The methodology involved monthly visits, beginning in early May 2008 to September, 2016, by the CBUHS to health institutions in the programme areas. Activities included holding discussions with health workers, distribution of ADR forms and collection of ADRs reports. These reports, once collected, were documented and assessed at the CBUHS. A report was then prepared for ZAMRA on quarterly basis. At ZAMRA, serious ADRs were noted and recommendations made to the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Zambia. The results show that 2,600 ADRs reports were received at the pharmacovigilance regional centre. Most of the ADRs reports that received were due to antiretroviral drugs, as well as a few from anti-malarial drugs like Artemether/Lumefantrine – Coartem®. Three hundred and twelve ADRs were entered in the Uppsala Monitoring Centre WHO Vigiflow for further analysis. It was concluded that in general, 2008-16 were exciting years for the pharmacovigilance group at CBUHS. From a very tentative beginning, a lot of strides were made and contacts established with healthcare facilities in the region. The researchers were encouraged by the support received from the Copperbelt University management, the motivation provided by ZAMRA and most importantly the enthusiasm of health workers in all the health care facilities visited. As a centre for drug safety in Zambia, the results show it achieves its objectives for monitoring ADRs, Pharmacovigilance (drug safety monitoring), and activities of monitoring ADRs as well as preventing them. However, the centre faces critical challenges caused by erratic funding that prevents the smooth running of the programme.

Keywords: Drug Safety, monitoring, Pharmacovigilance, Adverse Drug Reactions

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12 Safety Profile of Anti-Retroviral Medicine in South Africa Based on Reported Adverse Drug Reactions

Authors: Sarah Gounden, Mukesh Dheda, Boikhutso Tlou, Elizabeth Ojewole, Frasia Oosthuizen

Abstract:

Background: Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been effective in the reduction of mortality and resulted in an improvement in the prognosis of HIV-infected patients. However, treatment with antiretrovirals (ARVs) has led to the development of many adverse drug reactions (ADRs). It is, therefore, necessary to determine the safety profile of these medicines in a South African population in order to ensure safe and optimal medicine use. Objectives: The aim of this study was to quantify ADRs experienced with the different ARVs currently used in South Africa, to determine the safety profile of ARV medicine in South Africa based on reported ADRs, and to determine the ARVs with the lowest risk profile based on specific patient populations. Methodology: This was a quantitative study. Individual case safety reports for the period January 2010 – December 2013 were obtained from the National Pharmacovigilance Center; these reports contained information on ADRs, ARV medicine, and patient demographics. Data was analysed to find associations that may exist between ADRs experienced, ARV medicines used and patient demographics. Results: A total of 1916 patient reports were received of which 1534 met the inclusion criteria for the study. The ARV with the lowest risk of ADRs were found to be lamivudine (0.51%, n=12), followed by lopinavir/ritonavir combination (0.8%, n=19) and abacavir (0.64%, n=15). A higher incidence of ADRs was observed in females compared to males. The age group 31–50 years and the weight group 61–80 kg had the highest incidence of ADRs reported. Conclusion: This study found that the safest ARVs to be used in a South African population are lamivudine, abacavir, and the lopinavir/ritonavir combination. Gender differences play a significant role in the occurrence of ADRs and both anatomical and physiological differences account for this. An increased BMI (body mass index) in both men and women showed an increase in the incidence of ADRs associated with ARV therapy.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Pharmacovigilance, South Africa, adverse drug reaction, antiretrovirals

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11 Cross-Sectional Analysis of the Health Product E-Commerce Market in Singapore

Authors: Andrew Green, Jiaming Liu, Kellathur Srinivasan, Raymond Chua

Abstract:

Introduction: The size of Singapore’s online health product (HP) market (e-commerce) is largely unknown. However, it is recognized that a large majority comes from overseas and thus, unregulated. As buying HP from unauthorized sources significantly compromises public health safety, understanding e-commerce users’ demographics and their perceptions on online HP purchasing becomes a pivotal first step to form a basis for recommendations in Singapore’s pharmacovigilance efforts. Objective: To assess the prevalence of online HP purchasing behaviour among Singaporean e-commerce users. Methodology: This is a cross-sectional study targeting Singaporean e-commerce users recruited from various local websites and online forums. Participants were not randomized into study arms but instead stratified by random sampling method based on participants’ age. A self-administered anonymous questionnaire was used to explore participants' demographics, online HP purchasing behaviour, knowledge and attitude. The association of different variables with online HP purchasing behaviour was analysed using logistic regression statistics. Main outcome measures: Prevalence of HP e-commerce users in Singapore (%) and variables that contribute to the prevalence (adjusted prevalent ratio). Results: The study recruited 372 complete and valid responses. The prevalence of online HP consumers among e-commerce users in Singapore is estimated to be 55.9% (1.7 million consumers). Online purchasing of complementary HP (46.9%) was the most prevalent, followed by medical devices (21.6%) and Western medicine (20.5%). Multivariate analysis showed that age is an independent variable that correlates with the likelihood of buying HP online. The prevalence of HP e-commerce users is highest in the 35-44 age group (64.1%) and lowest among the 16-24 age group (36.4%). The most bought HP through the internet are vitamins and minerals (21.5%), non-herbal (15.9%), herbal (13.9%), weight loss (8.7%) and sports (8.4%) supplements. While the top 3 products are distributed equally between the genders, there is a skew towards female respondents (12.4% in females vs. 4.9% in males) for weight loss supplements and towards males (13.2% in males vs. 3.7% in females) for sports supplements. Even though online consumers are in the younger age brackets, our study found that up to 72.0% of HP bought online are bought for others (buyer’s family and/or friends). Multivariate analysis showed a statistically significant association between purchasing HP through online means and the perceptions that 'internet is safe' (adjusted Prevalence Ratio=1.15, CI 1.03-1.28), 'buying HP online is time saving' (PR=1.17, CI 1.01-1.36), and 'recognition of HP brand' (PR=1.21 CI 1.06-1.40). Conclusions: This study has provided prevalence data for online HP market in Singapore, and has allowed the country’s regulatory body to formulate a targeted pharmacovigilance approach to this growing problem.

Keywords: E-Commerce, Pharmaceuticals, Pharmacovigilance, Singapore

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10 Patient Support Program in Pharmacovigilance: Foster Patient Confidence and Compliance

Authors: Atul Khurana, Rajul Rastogi, Hans-Joachim Gamperl

Abstract:

The pharmaceutical companies are getting more inclined towards patient support programs (PSPs) which assist patients and/or healthcare professionals (HCPs) in more desirable disease management and cost-effective treatment. The utmost objective of these programs is patient care. The PSPs may include financial assistance to patients, medicine compliance programs, access to HCPs via phone or online chat centers, etc. The PSP has a crucial role in terms of customer acquisition and retention strategies. During the conduct of these programs, Marketing Authorisation Holder (MAH) may receive information related to concerned medicinal products, which is usually reported by patients or involved HCPs. This information may include suspected adverse reaction(s) during/after administration of medicinal products. Hence, the MAH should design PSP to comply with regulatory reporting requirements and avoid non-compliance during PV inspection. The emergence of wireless health devices is lowering the burden on patients to manually incorporate safety data, and building a significant option for patients to observe major swings in reference to drug safety. Therefore, to enhance the adoption of these programs, MAH not only needs to aware patients about advantages of the program, but also recognizes the importance of time of patients and commitments made in a constructive manner. It is indispensable that strengthening the public health is considered as the topmost priority in such programs, and the MAH is compliant to Pharmacovigilance (PV) requirements along with regulatory obligations.

Keywords: Drug Safety, Pharmacovigilance, Good Pharmacovigilance Practice, patient support program

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9 Assessment of Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice of Health Care Professionals and Factors Associated with Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting in Public and Private Hospitals of Islamabad

Authors: Zaka Nisa, Farooq Sher

Abstract:

Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) underreporting is a great challenge to Pharmacovigilance. Health care professionals have to consider ADR reporting as their professional obligation, an effective system of ADR reporting is important to improve patient health care and safety. The present study is designed to assess the knowledge, attitude, practice and factors associated with ADR reporting by health care professionals (physicians and pharmacists) in public and private hospitals of Pakistan. A pretested questionnaire was administered to 384 physicians and pharmacists in public and private hospitals. Respondents were evaluated for their knowledge, attitude, and practice related to ADR reporting. The data was analyzed using the SPSS statistical software, the factors which encourage and discourage respondents in reporting ADRs were determined. Most of the respondents have shown a positive attitude towards ADR reporting. The response rate was 95.32%. Of the 367 questionnaires, including 333 (86.5%) physicians and 34 (8.8%) pharmacists with the mean age 28.34 (SD= 6.69), most of the respondents showed poor ADR reporting knowledge (83.1%). The majority of respondents (78.2%) showed positive attitude towards ADR reporting and only (12.3%) hospitals have good ADR reporting practice. Knowledge of respondents in public hospitals (8.6%) was less as compare to those in the private hospitals (29.7%) (P < 0.001). Attitude of respondents in private hospitals was more positive (92.4%) than those in public hospitals (68.8%) (P < 0.001). No significant difference was observed in practicing of ADR reporting in public (11.8%) and private hospitals (13.1%) (P value 0.89). Seriousness of ADR, unusualness of reaction, new drug involvement and confidence in diagnosis of ADR were the factors which encourage respondents to report ADR, however, lack of knowledge regarding where and how to report ADR, lack of access to ADR reporting form, managing patients was more important than reporting ADR, legal liability issues were the factors which discourage respondents to report ADR. The study reveals poor knowledge and practice regarding ADR reporting. However positive attitude was seen regarding ADR reporting. There is a need of educational training for health care professionals as well as genuine and continuous efforts are required by Government and health authorities to ensure the proper implementation of ADR reporting system in all of the hospitals.

Keywords: Pharmacovigilance, adverse drugs reactions (ADR), spontaneous ADR reporting, knowledge of ADR, attitude of health care profesionals, practice of ADR reporting

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8 A Multifactorial Algorithm to Automate Screening of Drug-Induced Liver Injury Cases in Clinical and Post-Marketing Settings

Authors: Osman Turkoglu, Alvin Estilo, Ritu Gupta, Liliam Pineda-Salgado, Rajesh Pandey

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Background: Hepatotoxicity can be linked to a variety of clinical symptoms and histopathological signs, posing a great challenge in the surveillance of suspected drug-induced liver injury (DILI) cases in the safety database. Additionally, the majority of such cases are rare, idiosyncratic, highly unpredictable, and tend to demonstrate unique individual susceptibility; these qualities, in turn, lend to a pharmacovigilance monitoring process that is often tedious and time-consuming. Objective: Develop a multifactorial algorithm to assist pharmacovigilance physicians in identifying high-risk hepatotoxicity cases associated with DILI from the sponsor’s safety database (Argus). Methods: Multifactorial selection criteria were established using Structured Query Language (SQL) and the TIBCO Spotfire® visualization tool, via a combination of word fragments, wildcard strings, and mathematical constructs, based on Hy’s law criteria and pattern of injury (R-value). These criteria excluded non-eligible cases from monthly line listings mined from the Argus safety database. The capabilities and limitations of these criteria were verified by comparing a manual review of all monthly cases with system-generated monthly listings over six months. Results: On an average, over a period of six months, the algorithm accurately identified 92% of DILI cases meeting established criteria. The automated process easily compared liver enzyme elevations with baseline values, reducing the screening time to under 15 minutes as opposed to multiple hours exhausted using a cognitively laborious, manual process. Limitations of the algorithm include its inability to identify cases associated with non-standard laboratory tests, naming conventions, and/or incomplete/incorrectly entered laboratory values. Conclusions: The newly developed multifactorial algorithm proved to be extremely useful in detecting potential DILI cases, while heightening the vigilance of the drug safety department. Additionally, the application of this algorithm may be useful in identifying a potential signal for DILI in drugs not yet known to cause liver injury (e.g., drugs in the initial phases of development). This algorithm also carries the potential for universal application, due to its product-agnostic data and keyword mining features. Plans for the tool include improving it into a fully automated application, thereby completely eliminating a manual screening process.

Keywords: Automation, Pharmacovigilance, drug-induced liver injury, post-marketing

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7 Safety Profile of Human Papillomavirus Vaccines: A Post-Licensure Analysis of the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System, 2007-2017

Authors: Giulia Bonaldo, Alberto Vaccheri, Ottavio D'Annibali, Domenico Motola

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The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) was shown to be the cause of different types of carcinomas, first of all of the cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. Since the early 80s to today, thanks first to the preventive screening campaigns (pap-test) and following to the introduction of HPV vaccines on the market; the number of new cases of cervical cancer has decreased significantly. The HPV vaccines currently approved are three: Cervarix® (HPV2 - virus type: 16 and 18), Gardasil® (HPV4 - 6, 11, 16, 18) and Gardasil 9® (HPV9 - 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, 58), which all protect against the two high-risk HPVs (6, 11) that are mainly involved in cervical cancers. Despite the remarkable effectiveness of these vaccines has been demonstrated, in the recent years, there have been many complaints about their risk-benefit profile due to Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI). The purpose of this study is to provide a support about the ongoing discussion on the safety profile of HPV vaccines based on real life data deriving from spontaneous reports of suspected AEFIs collected in the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). VAERS is a freely-available national vaccine safety surveillance database of AEFI, co-administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We collected all the reports between January 2007 to December 2017 related to the HPV vaccines with a brand name (HPV2, HPV4, HPV9) or without (HPVX). A disproportionality analysis using Reporting Odds Ratio (ROR) with 95% confidence interval and p value ≤ 0.05 was performed. Over the 10-year period, 54889 reports of AEFI related to HPV vaccines reported in VAERS, corresponding to 224863 vaccine-event pairs, were retrieved. The highest number of reports was related to Gardasil (n = 42244), followed by Gardasil 9 (7212) and Cervarix (3904). The brand name of the HPV vaccine was not reported in 1529 cases. The two events more frequently reported and statistically significant for each vaccine were: dizziness (n = 5053) ROR = 1.28 (CI95% 1.24 – 1.31) and syncope (4808) ROR = 1.21 (1.17 – 1.25) for Gardasil. For Gardasil 9, injection site pain (305) ROR = 1.40 (1.25 – 1.57) and injection site erythema (297) ROR = 1.88 (1.67 – 2.10) and for Cervarix, headache (672) ROR = 1.14 (1.06 – 1.23) and loss of consciousness (528) ROR = 1.71 (1.57 – 1.87). In total, we collected 406 reports of death and 2461 cases of permanent disability in the ten-year period. The events consisting of incorrect vaccine storage or incorrect administration were not considered. The AEFI analysis showed that the most frequently reported events are non-serious and listed in the corresponding SmPCs. In addition to these, potential safety signals arose regarding less frequent and severe AEFIs that would deserve further investigation. This already happened with the referral of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the adverse events POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) and CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) associated with anti-papillomavirus vaccines.

Keywords: Safety, Vaccines, Pharmacovigilance, Adverse Drug Reactions

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6 Pharmacovigilance in Hospitals: Retrospective Study at the Pharmacovigilance Service of UHE-Oran, Algeria

Authors: Nadjet Mekaouche, Hanane Zitouni, Fatma Boudia, Habiba Fetati, A. Saleh, A. Lardjam, H. Geniaux, A. Coubret, H. Toumi

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Medicines have undeniably played a major role in prolonging shelf life and improving quality. The absolute efficacy of the drug remains a lever for innovation, its benefit/risk balance is not always assured and it does not always have the expected effects. Prior to marketing, knowledge about adverse drug reactions is incomplete. Once on the market, phase IV drug studies begin. For years, the drug was prescribed with less care to a large number of very heterogeneous patients and often in combination with other drugs. It is at this point that previously unknown adverse effects may appear, hence the need for the implementation of a pharmacovigilance system. Pharmacovigilance represents all methods for detecting, evaluating, informing and preventing the risks of adverse drug reactions. The most severe adverse events occur frequently in hospital and that a significant proportion of adverse events result in hospitalizations. In addition, the consequences of hospital adverse events in terms of length of stay, mortality and costs are considerable. It, therefore, appears necessary to develop ‘hospital pharmacovigilance’ aimed at reducing the incidence of adverse reactions in hospitals. The most widely used monitoring method in pharmacovigilance is spontaneous notification. However, underreporting of adverse drug reactions is common in many countries and is a major obstacle to pharmacovigilance assessment. It is in this context that this study aims to describe the experience of the pharmacovigilance service at the University Hospital of Oran (EHUO). This is a retrospective study extending from 2011 to 2017, carried out on archived records of declarations collected at the level of the EHUO Pharmacovigilance Department. Reporting was collected by two methods: ‘spontaneous notification’ and ‘active pharmacovigilance’ targeting certain clinical services. We counted 217 statements. It involved 56% female patients and 46% male patients. Age ranged from 5 to 78 years with an average of 46 years. The most common adverse reaction was drug toxidermy. For the drugs in question, they were essentially according to the ATC classification of anti-infectives followed by anticancer drugs. As regards the evolution of declarations by year, a low rate of notification was noted in 2011. That is why we decided to set up an active approach at the level of some services where a resident of reference attended the staffs every week. This has resulted in an increase in the number of reports. The declarations came essentially from the services where the active approach was installed. This highlights the need for ongoing communication between all relevant health actors to stimulate reporting and secure drug treatments.

Keywords: hospital, Pharmacovigilance, Adverse Drug Reactions, spontaneous notification

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5 Pharmacovigilance: An Empowerment in Safe Utilization of Pharmaceuticals

Authors: Pankaj Prashar, Bimlesh Kumar, Ankita Sood, Anamika Gautam

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Pharmacovigilance (PV) is a rapidly growing discipline in pharmaceutical industries as an integral part of clinical research and drug development over the past few decades. PV carries a breadth of scope from drug manufacturing to its regulation with safer utilization. The fundamental steps of PV not only includes data collection and verification, coding of drugs with adverse drug reactions, causality assessment and timely reporting to the authorities but also monitoring drug manufacturing, safety issues, product quality and conduction of due diligence. Standardization of adverse event information, collaboration of multiple departments in different companies, preparation of documents in accordance to both governmental as well as non-governmental organizations (FDA, EMA, GVP, ICH) are the advancements in discipline of PV. De-harmonization, lack of predictive drug safety models, improper funding by government, non-reporting, and non-acceptability of ADRs by developing countries and reports directly from patients to the monitoring centres respectively are the major road backs of PV. Mandatory pharmacovigilance reporting, frequent inspections, funding by government, educating and training medical students, pharmacists and nurses in this segment can bring about empowerment in PV. This area needs to be addressed with a sense of urgency for the safe utilization of pharmaceuticals.

Keywords: Regulatory, Drug Safety, Pharmacovigilance, Adverse event

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4 Medical Authorizations for Cannabis-Based Products in Canada: Sante Cannabis Data on Patient’s Safety and Treatment Profiles

Authors: Rihab Gamaoun, Cynthia El Hage, Laura Ruiz, Erin Prosk, Antonio Vigano

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Introduction: Santé Cannabis (SC), a Canadian medical cannabis-specialized group of clinics based in Montreal and in the province of Québec, has served more than 5000 patients seeking cannabis-based treatment prescription for medical indications over the past five years. Within a research frame, data on the use of medical cannabis products from all the above patients were prospectively collected, leading to a large real-world database on the use of medical cannabis. The aim of this study was to gather information on the profiles of both patients and prescribed medical cannabis products at SC clinics and to assess the safety of medical cannabis among Canadian patients. Methods: Using a retrospective analysis of the database, records of 2585 patients who were prescribed medical cannabis products for therapeutic purposes between 01-November 2017 and 04-September 2019 were included. Patients’ demographics, primary diagnosis, route of administration, and chemovars recorded at the initial visits were investigated. Results: At baseline: 9% of SC patients were female, with a mean age of 57 (SD= 15.8, range= [18-96]); Cannabis products were prescribed mainly for patients with a diagnosis of chronic pain (65.9% of patients), cancer (9.4%), neurological disorders (6.5%), mood disorders (5.8 %) and inflammatory diseases (4.1%). Route of administration and chemovars of prescribed cannabis products were the following: 96% of patients received cannabis oil (51% CBD rich, 42.5% CBD:THC); 32.1% dried cannabis (21.3% CBD:THC, 7.4% THC rich, 3.4 CBD rich), and 2.1% oral spray cannabis (1.1% CBD:THC, 0.8% CBD rich, 0.2% THC rich). Most patients were prescribed simultaneously, a combination of products with different administration routes and chemovars. Safety analysis is undergoing. Conclusion: Our results provided initial information on the profile of medical cannabis products prescribed in a Canadian population and the experienced adverse events over the past three years. The Santé Cannabis database represents a unique opportunity for comparing clinical practices in prescribing and titrating cannabis-based medications across different centers. Ultimately real-world data, including information about safety and effectiveness, will help to create standardized and validated guidelines for choosing dose, route of administration, and chemovars types for the cannabis-based medication in different diseases and indications.

Keywords: Safety, Pharmacovigilance, medical cannabis, real-world data

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3 Ibrutinib and the Potential Risk of Cardiac Failure: A Review of Pharmacovigilance Data

Authors: Abdulaziz Alakeel, Roaa Alamri, Abdulrahman Alomair, Mohammed Fouda

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Introduction: Ibrutinib is a selective, potent, and irreversible small-molecule inhibitor of Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK). It forms a covalent bond with a cysteine residue (CYS-481) at the active site of Btk, leading to inhibition of Btk enzymatic activity. The drug is indicated to treat certain type of cancers such as mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and Waldenström's macroglobulinaemia (WM). Cardiac failure is a condition referred to inability of heart muscle to pump adequate blood to human body organs. There are multiple types of cardiac failure including left and right-sided heart failure, systolic and diastolic heart failures. The aim of this review is to evaluate the risk of cardiac failure associated with the use of ibrutinib and to suggest regulatory recommendations if required. Methodology: Signal Detection team at the National Pharmacovigilance Center (NPC) of Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) performed a comprehensive signal review using its national database as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) database (VigiBase), to retrieve related information for assessing the causality between cardiac failure and ibrutinib. We used the WHO- Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC) criteria as standard for assessing the causality of the reported cases. Results: Case Review: The number of resulted cases for the combined drug/adverse drug reaction are 212 global ICSRs as of July 2020. The reviewers have selected and assessed the causality for the well-documented ICSRs with completeness scores of 0.9 and above (35 ICSRs); the value 1.0 presents the highest score for best-written ICSRs. Among the reviewed cases, more than half of them provides supportive association (four probable and 15 possible cases). Data Mining: The disproportionality of the observed and the expected reporting rate for drug/adverse drug reaction pair is estimated using information component (IC), a tool developed by WHO-UMC to measure the reporting ratio. Positive IC reflects higher statistical association while negative values indicates less statistical association, considering the null value equal to zero. The results of (IC=1.5) revealed a positive statistical association for the drug/ADR combination, which means “Ibrutinib” with “Cardiac Failure” have been observed more than expected when compared to other medications available in WHO database. Conclusion: Health regulators and health care professionals must be aware for the potential risk of cardiac failure associated with ibrutinib and the monitoring of any signs or symptoms in treated patients is essential. The weighted cumulative evidences identified from causality assessment of the reported cases and data mining are sufficient to support a causal association between ibrutinib and cardiac failure.

Keywords: Drug Safety, Pharmacovigilance, signal detection, cardiac failure, ibrutinib

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2 Methotrexate Associated Skin Cancer: A Signal Review of Pharmacovigilance Center

Authors: Abdulaziz Alakeel, Abdulrahman Alomair, Mohammed Fouda

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Introduction: Methotrexate (MTX) is an antimetabolite used to treat multiple conditions, including neoplastic diseases, severe psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Skin cancer is the out-of-control growth of abnormal cells in the epidermis, the outermost skin layer, caused by unrepaired DNA damage that triggers mutations. These mutations lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. The aim of this review is to evaluate the risk of skin cancer associated with the use of methotrexate and to suggest regulatory recommendations if required. Methodology: Signal Detection team at Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) performed a safety review using National Pharmacovigilance Center (NPC) database as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) VigiBase, alongside with literature screening to retrieve related information for assessing the causality between skin cancer and methotrexate. The search conducted in July 2020. Results: Four published articles support the association seen while searching in literature, a recent randomized control trial published in 2020 revealed a statistically significant increase in skin cancer among MTX users. Another study mentioned methotrexate increases the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer when used in combination with immunosuppressant and biologic agents. In addition, the incidence of melanoma for methotrexate users was 3-fold more than the general population in a cohort study of rheumatoid arthritis patients. The last article estimated the risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) in a cohort study shows a statistically significant risk increase for CMM was observed in MTX exposed patients. The WHO database (VigiBase) searched for individual case safety reports (ICSRs) reported for “Skin Cancer” and 'Methotrexate' use, which yielded 121 ICSRs. The initial review revealed that 106 cases are insufficiently documented for proper medical assessment. However, the remaining fifteen cases have extensively evaluated by applying the WHO criteria of causality assessment. As a result, 30 percent of the cases showed that MTX could possibly cause skin cancer; five cases provide unlikely association and five un-assessable cases due to lack of information. The Saudi NPC database searched to retrieve any reported cases for the combined terms methotrexate/skin cancer; however, no local cases reported up to date. The data mining of the observed and the expected reporting rate for drug/adverse drug reaction pair is estimated using information component (IC), a tool developed by the WHO Uppsala Monitoring Centre to measure the reporting ratio. Positive IC reflects higher statistical association, while negative values translated as a less statistical association, considering the null value equal to zero. Results showed that a combination of 'Methotrexate' and 'Skin cancer' observed more than expected when compared to other medications in the WHO database (IC value is 1.2). Conclusion: The weighted cumulative pieces of evidence identified from global cases, data mining, and published literature are sufficient to support a causal association between the risk of skin cancer and methotrexate. Therefore, health care professionals should be aware of this possible risk and may consider monitoring any signs or symptoms of skin cancer in patients treated with methotrexate.

Keywords: Pharmacovigilance, Skin Cancer, methotrexate, signal detection

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1 The Safety Profile of Vilazodone: A Study on Post-Marketing Surveillance

Authors: Humraaz Kaja, Kofi Mensah, Frasia Oosthuizen

Abstract:

Background and Aim: Vilazodone was approved in 2011 as an antidepressant to treat the major depressive disorder. As a relatively new drug, it is not clear if all adverse effects have been identified. The aim of this study was to review the adverse effects reported to the WHO Programme for International Drug Monitoring (PIDM) in order to add to the knowledge about the safety profile and adverse effects caused by vilazodone. Method: Data on adverse effects reported for vilazodone was obtained from the database VigiAccess managed by PIDM. Data was extracted from VigiAccess using Excel® and analyzed using descriptive statistics. The data collected was compared to the patient information leaflet (PIL) of Viibryd® and the FDA documents to determine adverse drug reactions reported post-marketing. Results: A total of 9708 adverse events had been recorded on VigiAccess, of which 6054 were not recorded on the PIL and the FDA approval document. Most of the reports were received from the Americas and were for adult women aged 45-64 years (24%, n=1059). The highest number of adverse events reported were for psychiatric events (19%; n=1889), followed by gastro-intestinal effects (18%; n=1839). Specific psychiatric disorders recorded included anxiety (316), depression (208), hallucination (168) and agitation (142). The systematic review confirmed several psychiatric adverse effects associated with the use of vilazodone. The findings of this study suggested that these common psychiatric adverse effects associated with the use of vilazodone were not known during the time of FDA approval of the drug and is not currently recorded in the patient information leaflet (PIL). Conclusions: In summary, this study found several adverse drug reactions not recorded in documents emanating from clinical trials pre-marketing. This highlights the importance of continued post-marketing surveillance of a drug, as well as the need for further studies on the psychiatric adverse events associated with vilazodone in order to improve the safety profile.

Keywords: Pharmacovigilance, Adverse Drug Reactions, post-marketing surveillance, vilazodone

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