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Editor's Note
Mar 11, 2013

Online Network for Adverse Event Reporting : Comment on “Participatory Surveillance of Hypoglycemia and Harms in an Online Social Network”

JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(5):352-353. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.3445

Informed choices for medical treatments are best made by considering benefits and risks. A major challenge has long been accurate adverse event reporting—it is estimated that only 2% to 3% of all drug- and device-related adverse events are reported, severely hampering our ability to accurately describe and understand risks for commonly used therapies. Weitzman et al describe an innovative online diabetes social network using participatory surveillance to track frequency of hypoglycemia episodes. One can imagine similar reporting mechanisms for adverse events in communities of drug users, particularly for commonly used drugs such as statins, or others. TuAnalyze may be the first of many software applications to help improve tracking of medical adverse events.