Physician Response to Patient Reports of Adverse Drug Effects

Physician response to patient reports of potential adverse drug reaction (ADR) was the focus of this study. Patient reports of ADR were conceptualized as a form of postmarketing surveillance for rates of ADR that may be underreported in clinical trials. Study participants were 650 patients taking HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors or statins. Participants completed a general survey and if they reported muscle, cognitive and neuropathy symptoms they also completed follow-up surveys in these areas. Overall, 207, 113 and 85 patients completed surveys in muscle, cognitive and neuropathy areas, respectively.

Key Findings:

  • In all, 87 percent of participants reported communicating with their physicians about potential ADRs related to their use of statins.
  • Participants described beginning discussions of ADRs with physicians 98 percent, 96 percent and 86 percent of the time in regard to cognition, neuropathy and muscle symptoms, respectively.
  • Participant accounts of physicians not considering their reports of ADR varied by area with neuropathy patients reporting the phenomenon most often (51%).
  • Physicians initiated discussion of ADRs more frequently for muscle adverse effects as compared to cognitive or neuropathy symptoms.