Characteristics, Quality and Contribution to Signal Detection of Spontaneous Reports of Adverse Drug Reactions Via the WEB-RADR Mobile Application: A Descriptive Cross-Sectional Study

Drug Saf. 2018 Oct;41(10):969-978. doi: 10.1007/s40264-018-0679-6.


Introduction: Spontaneous reporting of suspected adverse drug reactions is key for efficient post-marketing safety surveillance. To increase usability and accessibility of reporting tools, the Web-Recognising Adverse Drug Reactions (WEB-RADR) consortium developed a smartphone application (app) based on a simplified reporting form.

Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the characteristics, quality and contribution to signals of reports submitted via the WEB-RADR app.

Methods: The app was launched in the UK, the Netherlands and Croatia between July 2015 and May 2016. Spontaneous reports submitted until September 2016 with a single reporter were included. For each country, app reports and reports received through conventional means in the same time period were compared to identify characteristic features. A random subset of reports was assessed for clinical quality and completeness. The contribution to signal detection was assessed by a descriptive analysis.

Results: Higher proportions of app reports were submitted by patients in the UK (28 vs. 18%) and Croatia (32 vs. 7%); both p < 0.01. In the Netherlands, the difference was small (60 vs. 57%; p = 0.5). The proportion of female patients and the median patient ages in app reports submitted by patients were similar to the reference. The proportion of reports of at least moderate quality was high in both samples (app: 78-85%, reference: 78-98%), for all countries. App reports contributed to detecting eight potential safety signals at the national level, four of which were eventually signalled.

Conclusion: The WEB-RADR app offers a new route of spontaneous reporting that shows promise in attracting reports from patients and that could become an important tool in the future. Patient demographics are similar to conventional routes, report quality is sufficient despite a simplified reporting form, and app reports show potential in contributing to signal detection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems / standards*
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Croatia / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Databases, Factual / standards
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / diagnosis
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Internet / standards*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobile Applications / standards*
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Quality Control*
  • Random Allocation
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Young Adult