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26.05.2020 | original article | Ausgabe 5-6/2021 Open Access

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 5-6/2021

Impact of literature reports on drug safety signals

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 5-6/2021
Bartlomiej Ochyra, Maciej Szewczyk, Adam Przybylkowski
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Signal management is considered an important activity in pharmacovigilance and should be performed using any available source of data, including scientific literature. The main aim of this study was to assess the role of scientific literature in both indexed and unindexed journals and compare the relevance of both in the signal management process.


The study was a retrospective analysis of safety data. For the purposes of the study, drugs for which safety signals were evaluated by European Medicine Agency (EMA) were chosen. A match analysis of data collected in the EudraVigilance (EV) database with data from bibliographic databases such as MEDLINE, Embase or EBSCO (International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, IPA and the Allied and the Complementary Medicine Database, AMED) was performed.


A total of 73 drug event associations (DEA) and 4160 individual case safety reports (ICSRs) were analyzed. About 33% of ICSRs were created based on scientific literature. A total of 1196 ICSRs were submitted to the EV database based on journals indexed in global bibliographic databases Embase (86.00%) or MEDLINE (81.96%) or EBSCO (IPA or AMED, 0.66%).


This study underlines the importance of scientific literature for the signal management process in addition to other data sources. Most literature ICSRs from this analysis were created based on scientific journals indexed in bibliographic databases; therefore, it can be concluded that a systematic review of bibliographic databases, such as Embase or MEDLINE is highly relevant for the signal management process.

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