Suggested resources to help primary care healthcare professionals find information to answer questions about side-effects of medicines

SPS resources

SPS has a variety of resources on adverse effects which we recommend you check first. For example Managing constipation in people taking clozapine highlights the safety concern and provides advice on action to take.

If the information is not available on the SPS website or the information resources listed, or if your clinical scenario is complex, we would suggest you seek further advice from our Medicines Advice service.

Other primary resources

In addition to our own resources, we particularly recommend the following resources that are free to access:

British National Formulary

Drug monographs in the British National Formulary (BNF) and BNF for Children (BNFC) include sections on side-effects, allergy and cross-sensitivity.

MHRA advice and Patient Safety Alerts, where relevant, are found in the ‘Important safety information’ towards the top of drug monographs.

Summaries of Product Characteristics (SPCs/SmPCs)

Available via electronic Medicines Compendium and MHRA. Useful sections include undesirable effects (section 4.8), contraindications (4.3) and precautions for use (4.4).

MHRA interactive Drug Analysis Profiles (iDAPs)

IDAPs display data from the Yellow Card Scheme and provide information on the number of “yellow card” reports of suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) received for a medicine.

Healthcare professionals and patients in England and Wales can report a suspected adverse reaction to a medicine by completing a yellow card report online

To find a specific iDAP note:

  • iDAPs are listed alphabetically by drug name
  • iDAPs are not available for combination products – find the iDAP for an individual ingredient then look at reports for ‘multiple ingredients’

When using the iDAP note:

  • Reports are listed by system organ class – click on the class to narrow down to reports for more specific reactions
  • The number of reports can be filtered by patient factors such as patient age or sex, or by year of report
  • Each iDAP contains essential guidance (at the bottom of the report) that explains the context of the data available
  • Reports are for suspected adverse drug reactions – a causal association may not have been confirmed

MHRA Drug Safety Update

Drug Safety update is published monthly and highlights current areas of concern in medicines safety, such as adverse reactions, drug interactions or concerns over medicine use in specific patient groups. The website is searchable and hits can be filtered by therapeutic area or date published.

Training resources

If you would like more information on how to approach answering questions on adverse effects we recommend:

Medicines Learning Portal

The Medicines Learning Portal is aimed at trainee hospital pharmacists but the content is also relevant to clinical primary care healthcare professionals. The portal includes a tutorial on adverse reactions which provides advice on:

  • questions to ask when considering questions relating to adverse reactions
  • assessing and managing adverse reactions
  • how to report adverse effects to the MHRA

Update history

  1. Title amended
  1. Published

Print this page