Background Pharmacovigilance, derived from the Greek word; ‘pharmakon’, a drug or medicine, and from the Latin ‘vigilans’ watchful or careful, is defined as ‘all methods of assessment and prevention of adverse drug reactions’ (Mann and Andrews, 2002). WHO defines it as the science and activities relating to the detection, evaluation, understanding and prevention of adverse drug reactions or any other drug-related problems.
Purpose The aims of this research are to assess the awareness of Turkish physicians and nurses of pharmacovigilance and to study the impact of a seminar on their perception and attitude towards pharmacovigilance and adverse drug reactions reporting.
Materials and methods The study was conducted in the Vehbi Koç Foundation American Hospital. The participants (15 physicians and 15 nurses) were asked to answer two questionnaires before and after they attended an educational seminar, which aimed to provide the participants with the theoretical aspects and necessary knowledge about pharmacovigilance. The responses of the participants were subjected to frequency analysis, and the existence of any difference between groups of participants based on profession and age, was investigated using non-parametric tests.
Results Only 53.3% of the physicians and 60% of the nurses knew the correct definition of adverse drug reaction. All of the physicians and 60% of the nurses claimed that they had experienced an adverse drug reaction in their patients. 46.6% of the physicians and 40% of the nurses stated that they had never reported an adverse drug reaction. All in all, only 36.3% of the respondents knew the correct definition of the adverse drug reactions, had experienced an adverse drug reactions and cared to report to a correct authority. Non-parametric tests demonstrate that the nurses and physicians differ significantly in their responses when they were asked whether they had experienced an adverse drug reactions in their patients.
Conclusions The results show that the practitioners are not aware of the importance of pharmacovigilance and do not know the correct definition of adverse drug reaction. The results of the second questionnaire demonstrate that an educational seminar would be very helpful to improve awareness and to increase adverse drug reactions reporting. Nevertheless, elimination of ignorance on pharmacovigilance would not be sufficient if the attitude problem towards pharmacovigilance remains unsolved.
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