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Reporting Side Effects of Your Medication


Thursday November 19 2015 10:30 AM

I was on my way to pick up the kids from soccer practice the other day when I realised I had forgotten my phone! It was too late to make it back home to retrieve it and as it turned out, I had to wait a while for the final whistle. With my only other option being the car manual, I decided to re-read the package leaflet for my MS meds. Every time I get a new pack, I toss the tiny paper concertina aside and pop the plastic bubble to get my daily dose. I had read the entire thing when I started taking them almost two years ago and to be honest- it was tough going.

As the concertina unfolds, I read about what my medication is and what it is used for, what I need to know before I take it and how to take it. I must say that the language is quite clear – considering the subject matter. Now for the crescendo- the side effects…. If you have any hypochondriac tendencies, this is where they come out to play. First the “could be or could become” serious side effects (common – uncommon – rare). Next up is the plain old side effects (very common – common – uncommon – rare – not known). The rest of the booklet details storage information, contents of the pack and other information. In my mind, I’m still stuck on the side effects section.

When I get home and back to my beloved internet, I checked out a page mentioned in the leaflet. It’s called the Yellow Card Scheme and it’s for reporting side effects directly in the UK. I thought it was a clever name and it stuck in my mind. You can find it on: https://yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/

The Irish equivalent is: http://www.hpra.ie/homepage/about-us/report-an-issue

It is important for people to report problems experienced with medicine or medical devices as these are used to identify issues which might not have been previously known about.

On balance, I am glad that I revisited the package leaflet for my medication. From now on, I will check the “This leaflet was last revised on” date when I pick up my prescription and re-read if required. Scanning through the known side effects is not pleasant but makes me focus on any health issues I may have been dismissing and prompts me to report them. I also will not forget my phone when I am picking up the kids!

How do you inform yourself about the side effects of your medication? Have you ever reported a side effect and how did you do this? I would love to hear from you!

Author: Joan Jordan

Tags: medication, sideeffects, reporting



Thursday November 19 2015 11:22

Useful and informative, Joan,
thanks for sharing your insights.

In the evolving world of data analytics, the more feedback information that is made available to groups such as the HPRA (Health Products Regulatory Authority), the better they can track the effects and side-effects of medicines that are out and in use in the community.


Thursday November 19 2015 12:20

Hi Joan
What a great blog. We may read those leaflets the first time we start our meds but the side effect change as people report them. Important to give the leaflet a quick read every 6 months....... in case they have changed. Also important to report side effects to keep other users updated.


Thursday November 19 2015 17:36

I'm in the 'once read is enough' camp. I'll change. Great blog Joan thanks for waking me up.

Ronny van den Berg

Friday November 20 2015 07:38

Joan very very good blog many of us never look at the enclosed leaflet I am one that always does. Recently I was put on new medication after taken it for a a few weeks an hour or so after take it my heart started going like the clapper, it gave me a fright and as I had to go the chemist next day I told the Chemist about it, she told me to go off immediately. Unfortunately, I am very sensitive to medication. If anyone is getting side effects from there injections you should ring or get in touch with your doctor or nurse. Side effects can be frightening. Ronny

Helen Farrell

Friday November 20 2015 17:02

Thanks Joan, I didn't know that you could report side effects directly - that's much easier than telling your GP. Great piece, very useful.

Joan Jordan

Monday November 23 2015 11:37

Thanks so much for your comments. Its so interesting to see how you report your side effects. I am now really curious to find out what happens to the data and how it is collated on a national and international level! At the end of the day- the effective reporting of side effects can only benefit MSers and we can all play a part. Watch this space...

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