The FDA announced yesterday the launch of “openFDA” website. This website will allow you to search over 3 million reported adverse drug side effects dating back to 2004.
Here is how the FDA envisions it being a very usual tool for you:
According to FDA’s Chief Health Informatics Officer, Dr. Taha Kass-Hout, “Using this data, a mobile developer could create a search app for a smart phone, for example, a consumer could then use to determine whether anyone else has experienced the same adverse event they did after taking a certain drug.” Dr. Kass-Hout further stated, “OpenFDA will make our publicly available data accessible in a structured, computer-readable format.” It provides a “search-based” Application Programming Interface – the set of requirements that govern how one software application can talk to another – that makes it possible to find both structured and unstructured content online.
This is an incredibly important first step in making it easy for consumers to both report adverse side effects and to check to see if anyone else has experienced similar reactions. It also allow the FDA and drug manufacturers to monitor patient side effects and issue more accurate drug warnings or decide whether or not a safety recall is warranted. This database could essentially create a social media outlet for patients to anonymously report side effects – informing other users of previously unreported reactions.
Previously, only adverse side effects reported to the FDA or the manufacturer (assuming the manufacturer actually passed this information on to the FDA) were made public. And, even then, a consumer would have to search the FDA website for reported side-effects to find this information – a task that is cumbersome at best.
You can find the openFDA website here: http://open.fda.gov/index.html