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Even though a drug’s possible side effects and risks are included with the prescription packaging provided at the pharmacy, that doesn’t mean clinical trials have been able to identify every potential outcome before a drug is brought to market.

Consequently, data on drug interactions or new side effects often become known after a medicine has been in use among the population-at-large. Two new digital resources make it easier to stay informed about side effects and other negative outcomes that are discovered “after-market” data about drugs comes in.


The Web-based application AdverseEvents is a California-based healthcare informatics company that aims to improve patient safety and reduce systemic healthcare costs through the comprehensive analysis of post-marketing drug side effect data. The primary markets for its services are hospitals, health plans, physicians, healthcare practices, pharmaceutical companies and consumers.


Essentially, AdverseEvents compiles MedWatch data into a searchable database. Physicians as well as patients can look up information on a drug, including the most commonly reported side effects and the average age and the sex of patients who have had an adverse reaction.

The site also allows visitors to type in a specific side effect and find out which drugs have been associated with it. The database contains bout 4,500 medications and more than 5 million reports of side effects that have been sent to the FDA by healthcare practitioners, patients and drug companies since 1997.


With AdverseEvents Explorer you will be able to:

  • Use RxSignal to identify drugs that the FDA should take action on

  • Use RxScore to compare and benchmark drugs to drug class and indication

  • Track historical side effect trend data

  • Search for post-marketing safety information on drugs, indications, and drug classes

  • Receive real-time drug safety alerts through Drug Safety Monitor emails

  • Stay a step ahead with an information advantage that cannot be found anywhere else

A free trial is available, and if approved after submitting your request, access to the database comes at price based upon the type of use requested. and the MedWatcher App

Created in collaboration with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiologic Health (CDRH), and the MedWatcher mobile app provide a new way to track and report side effects of drugs, medical devices, and vaccines.

Both tools can help healthcare professionals and consumers to stay up-to-date on government safety alerts, and become aware of side effects reported by other people. It also provides the latest news and research for products that users have selected to “have on watch.”

How MedWatcher Tools Work 

MedWatcher tools are for both healthcare professionals and the general public. These tools identify, aggregate, classify and visualize adverse events for drugs, devices and vaccines. Users sign-up for alerts that are sourced from FDA reports and social media posts about new drug safety information. (They also monitor social media avenues including Facebook, Twitter, online news outlets, and online patient communities.)

The user identifies drugs to track and, if a drug they’re tracking is the subject of an alert, the information is texted to their phone or can be viewed in the app. At, visitors can search and filter reports on a specific drug, medical device and vaccines.

MedWatcher App is the only app that allows you to report bad side effects or adverse events directly to the FDA, which can help to make medical products safer for everyone. Anyone can submit an adverse event report to FDA using the easy-to-use form on MedWatcher, or post to the online community to talk to others taking the same meds.

Clinicians will find MedWatcher to be a vast improvement over the paper and fax FDA MedWatch form, offering a convenient way to submit your findings and fulfill your professional obligations for reporting.

These tools also make it easy for patients to be involved with their health and stay informed about the medications they are taking. Users will find easy-to-read descriptions of a drug’s medical uses and known side effects, and how long it has been on the market. Within the platform, it is easy to create a list of all the drugs, vaccines and medical devices in use by family members or patients who are being monitored.

Then, expect the latest developments to be sent via the app or via email/text.

Users can also create a news feed and set preferences for alerts and news they wish to receive for selected medications. Additionally, users are able to read reviews by patients and healthcare providers, can choose to submit a review about negative events they may have experienced with a medication.

MedWatcher App is available for both Android and iPhone as a free download.

Karen M. Rider, M.A. is a freelance writer who specializes in wellness, health psychology and healthcare news. 

Last modified on Saturday, 01 March 2014
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