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April 22, 1983

Discovering Adverse Drug Reactions

Author Affiliations

University of Rochester Medical Center New York

JAMA. 1983;249(16):2224-2225. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330400070028

When a new drug is marketed, one can be sure that not everything (good or bad) about the drug is known. There are always some surprises in store. Sometimes they are pleasant surprises. When lidocaine was introduced as a local anesthetic, who would have dreamed that it would one day become a drug of choice for terminating cardiac arrhythmias? Diazepam used to carry labeling that its use was hazardous to epileptics; it went on to be recognized as a treatment for status epilepticus. Probenecid was first used to augment the effects of penicillin by preventing the tubular secretion of the latter drug; today it is useful as a uricosuric agent in the treatment of gout. Aspirin, first marketed as a simple analgesic, is now not only a major drug for treating arthritis but can prevent vascular thrombosis. These are just a few of the many examples one could cite.