Every day the U.S. Food and Drug Administration receive thousands of reports about adverse, unwanted or undesired effects of prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. Since the system began in 1998, it now has millions of records. Arguably, it contains the most extensive history or compilation of drug interactions. However, trying to obtain and review or organize this information is overwhelming and usually requires one to file a Freedom of Information Act request.
In January, 2014 the agency quietly unveiled plans to allow certain records, specifically the “adverse event reports” to become publically available. This is vis-à-vis a project called “openFDA.” What does this entail? The agency will allow software developers or designers to tap into the data to build user friendly programs for doctors and consumers. This project will allow one to discovery product recalls and drug label issues. This new method of transparency hopefully will allow people to detect more quickly when a drug is more dangerous than expected or known. One website, called “DrugCite” lets users to search for side effects by medication name. DrugCite.com. We strongly encourage you, when taking any mediation, to do this kind of research about the safety of your drugs. The more you know, the safer you can be.