The self-controlled case series method is increasingly being used in pharmacoepidemiology, particularly in vaccine safety studies. This method is typically used to evaluate the association between a transient exposure and an acute event, using only cases. We present both parametric and semiparametric models using a motivating example on MMR vaccine and bleeding disorders. We briefly describe approaches for interferent events and a sequential version of the method for prospective surveillance of drug safety. The efficiency of the self-controlled case series method is compared to the that of cohort and case control studies. Some further extensions, to long or indefinite exposures and to bivariate counts, are described.