Help make medicines safer by reporting suspected side effects: HPRA participating in EU-wide social media campaign

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Date: 20/11/2017

From today, the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) is running a new campaign to promote the reporting of suspected side effects from medicines. The campaign, which will continue across social media until Friday, forms part of an EU-wide awareness week that features a focus on over-the-counter medicines.

While many people do not experience any problems when using medicines, side effects can happen, even with over-the-counter products. It is important the risks associated with the use of medicines are understood and communicated to healthcare professionals and patients.

Potential side effects may range from a headache or sore stomach, to flu-like symptoms or just ‘feeling a bit off’. Reporting helps regulators monitor medicines on the market and take action as appropriate. It’s also useful to report suspected side effects that happen when taking more than one medicine, after long term use, or from interactions with food or other products.

Regulators such as the HPRA rely on the reporting of suspected side effects to make sure medicines on the market are acceptably safe. It is generally accepted however that reporting systems internationally suffer from under reporting and that’s why our campaign is important to both raise awareness and help strengthen the system.

According to Dr Joan Gilvarry, Director of Human Products Monitoring at the HPRA:

“The most important part of our work is making sure the medicines you and your family take are as safe as possible and do what they are intended to do. Our campaign will help the public, patients and healthcare professionals report suspected side effects and have confidence that their reports are making a difference.

“When taking a medicine make sure it’s right for you. It’s important to always remember to read the information leaflet that comes with it, including how much to take, how to take it and about any known side effects - never take more than advised or on the packaging. If in doubt, speak to a healthcare professional.”

“You can help make medicines safer by reporting any suspected side effects easily and quickly through our online report form,” Dr Gilvarry concluded.

The campaign awareness week was born out of the Strengthening Collaboration for Operating Pharmacovigilance in Europe (SCOPE) Joint Action project. One of its main aims is to raise awareness of national reporting systems for suspected side effects in medicines. It is supported by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Uppsala Monitoring Centre.



Weber Shandwick PR                               (01) 679 8600 
Siobhan Molloy / Rachel Galligan             (086) 817 5066 / (087) 791 9901


  • The various elements of the campaign can be viewed throughout the week of 20 to 24 November on the HPRA Twitter account: @TheHPRA
  • National reporting systems for the collection of suspected adverse drug reactions (commonly known as side effects) have acted as early warning systems to help identify numerous important safety issues, many of which were not recognised as being related to a particular medicine until reports were received by medicines regulators.
  • The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) protects and enhances public health and animal health by regulating medicines, medical devices and other health products. The products under its remit include human and veterinary medicines, medical devices, blood and blood components, tissues and cells, organs for transplantation and cosmetics.
  • The SCOPE Joint Action project ( social media campaign is being taken forward through the Heads of Medicines Agencies Working Group for Communications Professionals.
  • Uppsala Monitoring Centre was established in 1978 to support the WHO Programme for International Drug Monitoring.


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