Improving reporting of adverse events and adverse drug reactions following injections of Chinese materia medica

Zhaoxiang BIAN*, Hao Yao Tian, Lin Gao, Hong Cai Shang, Tai Xiang Wu, You Ping Li, Bo Li Zhang, Li Song

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Background While reporting of adverse drug events (AE) and adverse drug reactions (ADR) following Chinese materia medica (CM) injection is becoming more common, the reporting quality is of concern. Methods A checklist about the reporting quality of AE/ADR was set up, and the ADR/AE reporting of Herba Houttuyniae injection was chosen as an example. Electronic databases Chinese Journal Net (1994-2009) and Chinese Science and Technological Journal Net (VIP) (1989-2009) were searched for target literature. Results Based on our search strategy, 210 articleswere included, with 175 articles reporting single or several cases of ADR/AE following HerbaHouttuyniae injection (type I report). There were seven reports from regional or national ADR monitoring centers (type II report), and 28 summary reports from a single hospital or medical center (type III report). All 210 papers mentioned "adverse effect," "safety" or related meaning words in their titles, but 199 articles did not have abstract. Patient demographic characteristics were not fully reported in these articles. In type I articles, only 97 cases (43.11%) mentioned whether patients had or did not have a history of allergies, whereas 128 cases (56.89%) in type II papers and 14 (50%) type III papers, did not mention allergic history of patients. Only three articles (3/210, 1.43%), all of them type I, mentioned the syndrome type in Chinese medicine. None of the papers gave clear indications of the type and grade of ADR/AE of patients. Most papers did not report details of the CM injection procedure, such as the drug company, product serial number, or the drug's validity period. Data about the occurrence time and management of ADR/AE was also inadequately reported. Conclusion and recommendations The current reporting format of ADR/AE in clinical CM injections is not standardized. Much fundamental information of ADR/AE following CM injection is therefore missing. A standard reporting format for ADR should be developed, and should include the following: (1) a title mentioning adverse effects and safety; (2) a structured abstract including adequate information about the patient and the disease treated, the drug used, the specific ADR/AE, physician response to the ADR/AE, and result of management; (3) demographic characteristic of the patients (gender, age, etc.); (4) clinical characteristics of patients (disease, syndrome, etc); (5) allergic history of patients; (6) diagnosis and syndrome based on Chinesemedicine theory; (7) detailed information about the CM intervention (the manufacturer of the drug, series number, valid dates, dosage, route of administration, menstruum, dripping speed, etc.); (8) concomitant drug use; (9) time and symptoms of ADR/AE; (10) type and grading of ADR/AE; (11) physiological systems affected by ADR/AE; (12) specific treatment and prognosis for ADR/AE; (13) evidence of the cause and effect of ADR/AE; and (14) any other possibility of ADR/AE. Also, a ADR/AE registration system should be established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-10
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Evidence-Based Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Health Policy

User-Defined Keywords

  • Adverse drug reactions
  • Adverse events
  • Injection of Chinese material medica
  • Quality
  • Reporting


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