FDA drug-monitoring system tricky, promising

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Doctors Jerry Avorn and Sebastian Schneeweiss write in the New England Journal of Medicine that the Sentinel Network the FDA is working on to track and make sense of decades of detailed prescription and drug exposure data holds  promise for discovering drug interactions, but that the potential for false positives and misleading results is significant enough to make the program ineffective or dangerous if implemented improperly.

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Based on currently available data, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 71,000 Americans under the age of 18, most of them toddlers, visited the hospital for accidental medication overdoses. Common culprits included drugs like Tylenol, Xanax, Percodan and Aspirin. The report’s authors speculate that such poisonings are on the rise because more folks are taking multiple medications at home.
(hat tip to Consumer Reports)

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