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Consumer questions and answers: DAEN - medicines

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Database of Adverse Event Notifications

19 August 2021

It is an online database that you can use to find information about adverse events (also known as adverse reactions) to medicines or vaccines that have been reported to the TGA. It includes information about medicines or vaccines:

  • prescribed or dispensed by a health professional, with a prescription
  • purchased from a supermarket, pharmacy or another outlet without a prescription.

No, the Database of Adverse Event Notifications (DAEN) - medicines cannot be used to evaluate whether a medicine or vaccine is safe or not. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

The TGA cannot give medical advice and strongly encourages seeking the advice of a health professional if you or someone in your care suspect/s they are experiencing an adverse event with a medicine or vaccine.

No. Do not make changes to your medication regime based on information in the Database. Always seek the advice of a health professional before making any change to your medication.

If a medicine or vaccine is authorised for use by the TGA, it means that the benefits are considered to outweigh its risks, if used as authorised. The benefit-risk balance is determined after a careful assessment of the benefits and side effects of the medicine or vaccine. It is then up to a prescriber, patient or consumer to then decide if they wish to prescribe or take the medicine or vaccine.

For things to consider when interpreting search results, see About the DAEN - medicines: limitations of the data and search results.

Information in the Database comes from reports made to the TGA by patients, consumers, health professionals and sponsors of medicines, including vaccines. The reports in this database start from 1 January 1971 up to 14 days prior to the date of access.

The TGA uses the information in the Database to help evaluate the benefits and risks of medicines including vaccines and to monitor their safety once they are made available in the marketplace.

No. People who experience an adverse event reported to the TGA cannot be identified in the Database, or in adverse event reports made to the TGA. All personal information reported to the TGA, and included in the Database, is de-identified in line with the Privacy Act and National Privacy Principles.

The Database was created to support better health outcomes by providing access to information we gather while monitoring medicine and vaccine safety in Australia. It is part of the work we do to monitor the safety of medicines and vaccines for consumers.

As demand for information about medicines and vaccines grows, along with our ageing population, publishing information on medicine and vaccine safety online by a reputable Government agency improves public access to this important information. The TGA is committed to improving transparency to build trust and confidence in its work.

Medicine adverse event information reported to international regulatory agencies is also available online. This includes information from the US FDA and Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), Health Canada, the European Medicines Agency, the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and others.

Detailed information about how to use the Database can be found at Instructions for searching the DAEN - medicines. Put simply, you can search the Database for a medicine's or vaccine's trade name or active ingredient. Once you have typed in 3 letters a list will appear. Then just click on the medicines or vaccines you are interested in, select a date range and press 'Search'.

Some of the more technical medical terms are from the Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities (MedDRA). MedDRA is an internationally used set of terms relating to medical conditions, medicines and medical devices.

MedDRA includes standardised terms for symptoms, signs, diseases, syndromes and diagnoses and medication errors. For example, neoplasms describes any type of growth, including cancer, no matter where it appears in the body.

The TGA uses these terms because they are the international standard in medicine terminology. These terms are used internationally by other medicines regulators. Their use allows the Database to be used to share information on medicines worldwide, improving medicine safety globally. Other terms used in the database include:

  • Trade name - this is the brand name of the medicine
  • Active ingredient - this is what makes the medicine work
  • Not suspected - this medicine was taken at the time of the adverse event, but it is not thought to be related to the adverse event.
  • Suspected - there is a possibility that the medicine caused the adverse event
  • Interaction - an interaction between two or more medicines is thought to have caused the adverse event; this is usually based on a history in the literature of interactions between the medicines concerned.

Your search generates two types of report:

  1. The medicine summary - this report groups reported adverse events associated with a particular medicine or vaccine together. It enables an assessment of the most commonly reported adverse events for particular medicines or vaccines.
  2. The list of reports - this report contains more detailed information than the medicine summary. It lists the data for adverse events reported for particular medicines or vaccines case-by-case, in chronological order. The details of each (de-identified) adverse event case are listed in the order of the date the report was entered into the Database.

See DAEN - medicines: about the search results for more information.

The Database is a 'living' database that is constantly updated and maintained to ensure it reflects the latest adverse event information. The information in DAEN may change for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The TGA receives a follow-up report of an existing individual adverse event case. Sometimes these follow-up reports provide new information on the reported medicine or vaccine, reported active ingredient or reported suspected side effect.
  • The TGA identifies that more than one report has been submitted about a particular patient, perhaps from a person's pharmacist and their doctor. When duplicate reports are identified, they are combined into a single report.
  • The TGA updates adverse event reports as part of data quality assurance activities.

While most reports received by TGA are published in the DAEN, not all reports are included. Some examples of why a report may not be included are:

  • there is no reasonable temporal association between the use of a medicine/vaccine and the adverse event (for example, the adverse event occurred prior to administration of the medicine or vaccine)
  • the report does not contain enough information for an adequate assessment, or the information is contradictory
  • the adverse event is determined to not be related to the medicine/vaccine (for example, the adverse event is explained by other causes)
  • the report is for a medicine/vaccine accessed via the Special Access Scheme, Authorised Prescriber scheme, clinical trial notification scheme or clinical trial exemption scheme.

While these reports are not included in the DAEN, they remain in TGA's internal database.

The search results can be printed as a pdf report by clicking on the 'Print version of this report' link located at the top right of the search results. You can then print the report or specific pages using the print range option in Adobe Reader.

The search results should not be printed using the browser print option as the information will not display correctly.

About adverse events

Adverse events are unwanted and sometimes harmful outcomes from taking a medicine or vaccine. An adverse event does not mean the medicine or vaccine was the cause of the event. Adverse events include side effects, which are the known unintended effects of a medicine or treatment. More information about understanding the effects of medicines/vaccines is available from NPS MedicineWise.

Consumer Medicines Information (CMI) is available for all prescription and pharmacist-only medicines in Australia and is either included in the medicine pack or available in a separate leaflet from the pharmacist. CMI provides information on the safe and effective use of a prescription or pharmacist-only medicine. Information on known side effects is included in the CMI. You can also look up CMI information on the TGA website's CMI search facility.

When a medicine or vaccine is first registered and made available in Australia, information about its safety and efficacy is usually available only from clinical trials. Clinical trials provide information about many of the possible adverse effects of a medicine or vaccine, but they do not detect all possible adverse effects of a medicine or vaccine because:

  • they usually do not continue for long enough to detect reactions that take a long time to develop,
  • they may not include enough patients to detect reactions that occur very rarely, and
  • they may not include all of the different types of people who might eventually use the medicine or vaccine and who might be more susceptible to some reactions, such as older people, children, pregnant women, or people with other medical conditions.

The TGA, like other medicines' regulatory agencies around the world, monitors the safety of medicines/vaccines to contribute to a better understanding of their possible adverse effects when they are used outside the controlled conditions of clinical trials.

Suspected adverse events reported by the public and health professionals provide important information for the TGA's safety monitoring program.

The System for Australian Recall Actions (SARA) provides information about recall actions occuring in Australia for medicines and medical devices.

TGA publishes a weekly safety report providing information about the safety monitoring of COVID-19 vaccinations as well as an overview of all vaccines.

The National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance (NCIRS) in collaboration with the TGA prepares annual reports on adverse events following immunisation. These reports contain information on the rate at which an adverse event following vaccination is reported. They also contain information about serious adverse events and deaths that are reported to have occurred following a vaccine.

If you suspect that you are experiencing an adverse event you should consult a healthcare professional. You or the health professional can then report the event to the TGA. Detailed information on how and what to report is available on the TGA website.

You should report any suspected adverse event, even if you think it might already be known about. You don't need to be absolutely certain that the medicine or vaccine caused the reaction - a suspicion is enough. All reports contribute to the TGA's investigation of medicine safety.

The TGA may contact you for further information regarding the medicine adverse event report.