Pharmacovigilance in children: detecting adverse drug reactions in routine electronic healthcare records. A systematic review

Corrinda Black, Nara Tagiyeva, P. J. Helms, Dorothy Moir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
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AIMS: A systematic review of the literature published in English over 10 years was undertaken in order to describe the use of electronic healthcare data in the identification of potential adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in children.

METHODS: MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched using MESH headings and text words. Titles, key words and abstracts were checked for age <18, potential ADRs and electronic healthcare data. Information extracted included age, data source, pharmacovigilance method, medicines and ADRs. Studies were quality assessed.

RESULTS: From 14,804 titles, 314 had a full text review and 71 were included in the final review. Fifty were published in North America, 10 in Scandinavia. Study size ranged from less than 1000 children to more than 10 million. Sixty per cent of studies used data from one source. Comparative observational studies were most commonly reported (66.2%) with 15% using passive surveillance. Electronic healthcare data set linkage and the quality of the data source were poorly reported. ADRs were classified using the International Classification of Disease (ICD10). Multi-system reactions were most commonly studied, followed by central nervous system and mental and behavioural disorders. Vaccines were most frequently prescribed followed by corticosteroids, general anaesthetics and antidepressants.

CONCLUSIONS: Routine electronic healthcare records were increasingly reported to be used for pharmacovigilance in children. This growing and important health protection activity could be enhanced by consistent reporting of studies to improve the identification, interpretation and generalisability of the evidence base.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)844-854
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number4
Early online date28 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

Bibliographical note

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
We would like to acknowledge the methodological and clinical contribution of the Child Medical Records for Safer Medicines (CHIMES) study team to the design of the review protocol.


  • adverse drug reactions
  • children
  • electronic healthcare data
  • systematic review


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