FDA Makes Side-Effect Database Searchable

If you had a bad reaction after taking a medicine, there’s now an easy way to find out whether others experienced the same.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration improved its online database of reports about side effects filed by patients and doctors, making it easily searchable by product, patient age, type of side effect or year it occurred.

It means that, for the first time, the public will have access to data it can make sense of. Previously, inquiring minds needed to know a little about coding to figure out the FDA’s adverse-reaction database. And even then, they had to file a Freedom of Information request with the government to get the actual reports and check the information’s accuracy.

The FDA said it hopes that the increased transparency will spur patients and doctors to submit more detailed and complete reports. Many patients don’t even know they can submit adverse-event reports to the agency.

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