Department of Health written question – answered on 16th October 2014.

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Photo of Zac Goldsmith Zac Goldsmith Conservative, Richmond Park

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many incidents have been recorded by the NHS of Citalopram leading to the deterioration of a patient's health in the last five years.

Photo of George Freeman George Freeman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Reports of suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are collected by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Commission for Human Medicines (CHM) through the spontaneous reporting scheme, the Yellow Card Scheme.

The Yellow Card Scheme collects information relating to suspected adverse drug reactions, which include both serious and non-serious effects which a doctor or patient suspects may have been due to a medicine. The MHRA has received a total of 1207 suspected ADR reports in association with citalopram between 1 January 2009 and 31 August 2014. This number includes reports received directly from healthcare professionals, patients and indirectly through pharmaceutical companies which have a legal obligation to report suspected ADRs. The number of reports received directly from the NHS cannot be determined.

The inclusion of a particular ADR in a report does not necessarily mean it has been caused by the drug, only that the reporter had a suspicion it may have, or it had a close temporal relationship to the administration of the suspect drug. The fact that symptoms occur after a treatment does not necessarily mean that they have been caused by the drug itself, as underlying illnesses and other conditions may be responsible.

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