Systematic postmarketing surveillance needed for misused psychoactive pharmaceutical drugs

Angela C Rintoul and Malcolm D H Dobbin
Med J Aust 2013; 199 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/mja13.11017
Published online: 16 December 2013

In reply: We thank Soh for her letter providing further evidence of harm relating to alprazolam misuse, which highlights deficiencies in postmarketing surveillance systems for pharmaceutical drugs. Reports of adverse drug reactions typically originate from therapeutic use; they seldom identify problems arising from misuse. Detection of misuse-related harm currently relies on ad-hoc epidemiological studies such as ours and that of Frei and colleagues, who documented problems with over-the-counter codeine–ibuprofen analgesics.1 Given that pharmaceutical drug misuse and its consequences are becoming more prevalent in Australia,2 a more systematic approach to identifying harm from misuse is required.

  • Angela C Rintoul1
  • Malcolm D H Dobbin2

  • 1 Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.


Competing interests:

Malcolm Dobbin has received honoraria from Pfizer for lectures, which he donated to charity.


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