Can we ensure the safe use of known human teratogens?: The iPLEDGE test case
ABSTRACT Minimising the public health burden of isotretinoin-induced teratogenicity has been a challenge for 24 years, the duration of availability of isotretinoin in the US for the treatment of severe, recalcitrant nodular acne. Although the teratogenicity of this drug is well known and risk-management programmes had been implemented, preventable fetal exposures continued to occur, largely as a result of the lack of sufficient controls within the programmes themselves. The manufacturers of isotretinoin implemented a new risk-management programme, iPLEDGE, in March 2006. iPLEDGE is a comprehensive distribution system that includes mandatory registration of patients, healthcare providers, pharmacies, and wholesalers. It allows real-time linkage of pregnancy-test results for verification prior to the dispensing of isotretinoin. Although the challenges of implementing a closed distribution system for a very widely used medication have been extensive, the potential public health benefits from preventing fetal exposure to isotretinoin are substantial.
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ABSTRACT: A major birth defect is an abnormality that can affect the structure or function of an organ. In the United States, major birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality and contribute substantially to childhood disability and morbidity. Globally, these conditions lead to the death of millions of infants and children annually. Patients with 1 or more affected family members may be at increased risk for having a child with a major birth defect; thus, accurate knowledge of these conditions among family members of their patients gives the clinician the ability to provide improved risk assessment and reproductive planning. Such knowledge can also serve as motivation for patients to adhere to healthy behaviors such as folic acid use or smoking cessation. To evaluate the utility of collecting family history reports of major birth defects as a public health strategy, 6 key criteria were examined by reviewing the relevant published literature. Overall, the review showed that major birth defects satisfied several of the criteria. Additional research is needed, however, regarding the awareness of parent reports of the occurrence of these conditions among relatives and how knowledge of birth defect diagnoses and related risk factors are transmitted among relatives. Such research needs to encompass not only immediate family members but also other first-degree and second-degree relatives. In summary, routine collection of family history reports of birth defects in pediatric practice holds promise as a public health strategy to reduce the burden of morbidity, mortality, and disability associated with major birth defects.PEDIATRICS 10/2007; 120 Suppl 2:S71-7. DOI:10.1542/peds.2007-1010F · 5.30 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Lenalidomide (Revlimid) is an immunomodulatory drug and an analogue of thalidomide, a known teratogen. To prevent fetal exposure, in the US lenalidomide is available only under a special restricted distribution programme called RevAssist. Under this risk minimization programme, only prescribers and contract pharmacies registered with the programme are able to prescribe and dispense the product. Patients must be advised of, agree to and comply with the requirements of the RevAssist programme in order to receive lenalidomide through a registered prescriber. A total of 15 584 patients were registered in the RevAssist programme during the first year lenalidomide was on the market. There were four reports of false-positive beta-human chorionic gonadotrophin measurements in patients aged 43-57 years. Mandatory patient and prescriber surveys have shown discrepant responses that were resolved by risk management intervention specialists 99% of the time. The voluntary patient surveys have shown understanding of the risks of lenalidomide use and of behaviours necessary to minimize risks in >95% of females of childbearing potential and adult males. To date, there have been no reports of pregnancy in female patients or female partners of male patients. The pharmacy audit findings showed compliance with RevAssist was high. Although RevAssist is labour-intensive, time-consuming and costly, it continues to be effective in preventing fetal exposure to lenalidomide.Drug Safety 01/2008; 31(9):743-52. · 2.62 Impact Factor