Know Your Rx Drug RxISK

May 13, 2013 • 3 comments

Answers to these 12 questions could save your life

The medical team behind, today published a checklist to help patients and their health care professionals assess the risks and benefits of prescription medications.  RxISK is the first free, independent website where patients, doctors, and pharmacists can research prescription drugs and easily report a drug side effect.   RxISK provides an individualized causality report for drug side effects enabling the health care team to act sooner.

If your government allows it, your doctor prescribed it,
and your pharmacist dispensed it, then it must be safe.  Right?

If your government allows it, your doctor prescribed it, and your pharmacist dispensed it, then it must be safe.  Right?  Not necessarily!  This assumption is wrong.  People die because of this wrong assumption.

Know your Rx RxISK

Know your Rx RxISK

RxISK Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dee Mangin says “Prescription drug side effects are now a leading cause of death, disability, and illness along with cancer, heart disease and stroke.”  RxISK CEO Dr. David Healy adds “In mental health care, drug side effects are the leading cause of death.”

The RxISK medical team estimates that, each year, 10,000 people die in Canada, 100,000 die in the United States, and 150,000 die in Europe from taking prescription medications as directed.

“Fewer than 5% of “serious” adverse events (those causing hospitalization, disability, or death) are ever reported. The rate of reporting the millions of “medically mild” adverse drug events that occur each year — ones that compromise a person’s  functioning, self-confidence, judgment, and even ability to care – is practically non-existent,” says Dr. Mangin. “Little is known about the effects of drugs on our hair, sex and relationships, extreme acts or thoughts, and our skin and nails, because these effects are not considered medically significant and are not tracked,” she adds.

Dr. David Healy says, “Some of the known or suspected drug side effects are included in the drug manufacturer’s patient information leaflets.  But a review of the over 15.8 million drug side effects reported to the Food and Drug Administration and included in RxISK’s databank, show hundreds more not in the leaflets that are linked to prescription drugs.”

RxISK tools to research and report Rx drug side effects

Dr. Healy says, “Patients about to start taking a drug have a right to an informed choice.  Only then can they weigh the benefits of a prescription drug against potential harms.  For those already on prescription drugs it’s about being on the lookout for links between side effects they are experiencing and their prescription drugs and being aware of potential symptoms on stopping or changing dose.”

Dr. Mangin says, “The checklist together with the RxISK Causality Report and research tools on can help the patient and doctor in their discussion.”


  1. How does this drug work, how much improvement can I expect, and how soon?
  2. If I don’t take this drug now, and instead wait for a while, what will happen?
  3. What are the most likely side effects?
  4. Are there any rare serious side effects?
  5. Are there any permanent problems this drug can cause?
  6. If this is a new drug, why can’t I take an older drug?
  7. Can I try a lower dose?
  8. What date will we review my use/dose of this drug?
  9. Are there problems stopping the drug or any special considerations on stopping or changing dose that I should watch for?
  10. Are there any potential interactions with food, my other medical conditions, or my current medications?
  11. Might this drug affect my weight/sleep/ hair/ skin/ nails/, mood/ sex life and/or relationships, and if so, how?
  12. Do I need to stop this drug before I get pregnant?

Both you and your Dr. can use the free drug research function at to help in this process. This provides access to 4.2 million reports on 5.6 million suspected drugs, suspected of causing 15.8 million side effects submitted to the US and RxISK side effects databases. RxISK also includes the FDA drug leaflets and any “black box” warnings, a European Medicines Agency manufacturer’s admitted side effects data set, and the anonymous stories of others’ experiences.

When you visit home page, you can enter the name of the prescription drug you are about to take, or are taking, on the home page, press enter and you are presented with RxISK research view.  Use this view:

  • to see what this drug is used for, by clicking on Indications and Usage in the FDA leaflet or clicking Patient Leaflet (Drug Specific).
  • to browse a list of the most common side effects reported on this drug, use Tag Cloud in the graphic or table.
  • to see how likely a causal link is switch to PRR view.
  • to look up a specific side effect that concerns you, use the A-Z Side Effects search function.
  • to see which patients report these side effects most often.  Click on Age, Gender,or Weight.
  • to see where in the world these reports are coming from. Click on Heat Map.
  • to see possible interactions with food, drugs, or conditions. Click on the Interaction Checker.
  • to see possible effects on hair, skin, nails, mood, sex & relationships, or withdrawing from a drug. Click on the corresponding Zone.

Help yourself while helping others

RxISK helps you research prescription drugs, but you can do so much more by reporting a drug side effect and adding your anonymized experience to the data on prescription drugs.

About Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd. is owned and operated by Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd. (DBM). DBM’s founders have international reputations in early drug-side-effect detection and risk mitigation, pharmacovigilance, and patient-centered care. Although drug side effects are known to be a leading cause of death and disability, less than 5% of serious drug side effects are reported. DBM’s mission is to capture this missing data directly from patients through’s free drug side effect reporting tool and use this data to help make medicines safer for all of us.

Media contact

David Carmichael
+1 (647) 799-3792

Make Your Voice Heard

Make your voice heard!
Report your experience with prescription drug side effects

Although drug side effects are known to be a leading cause of death and disability, less than 5% of serious drug side effects are reported. Our mission is to capture this missing data directly from patients to help make medicines safer for all of us.

When you report your drug side effect, you also receive a free RxISK Report to take to your doctor or pharmacist. This report serves as a means to initiate a more detailed discussion of your treatment.

At the end of the reporting process, we also provide you with the option to take the information you have reported on RxISK and automatically create a form to send to your country’s health authority — for example, the FDA in the United States, Health Canada in Canada, and Yellow Card in the United Kingdom (more countries will be added soon).

Filed Under: News and Media, RxISK Stories | 3 comments

Comments (3)

  1. This is great — thanks! It helps me figure out how to use RxISK better. I have just a couple of questions:

    1. About Proportional Reporting Ratio (PRR): Does this reflect an FDA investigation that considered alternate causes for the symptom? Or is it strictly statistical — and if so how does it work? Here’s an example: There are 977 reports of headaches on gabapentin, but the PRR is only 1.3. Are they comparing headaches on gabapentin to headaches in the general population? To reports of headaches on other drugs? Or to other types of side effect reports for gabapentin? And if I think my headaches are caused by my Neurontin tablets, does this figure tell me I might be mistaken?

    2. I’ve heard Dr. Healy say that RxISK’s Heat Map may help us tease out side effects that are occurring in local areas – say, in Baltimore but not in Boston. Right now the Heat Map just identifies countries. Is there currently (or will there be) a way to break down the figures to local areas of the USA? There can be dramatic differences in both social conditions and medical practices in different states, so this information could be incredibly useful.

    Just an example: the suicide rate for middle-aged people in the US is rising – the national rate for women age 45-59 is now 8.98 per 100,000. But the rate in Arizona (15.59) is more than three times the rate in New York (5.12). When you look only at “white non-Hispanic” women the figures go up – but the gap remains about the same (20.63 versus 6.86). So it’s probably not about ethnic differences. Something is definitely going on here – but what?

  2. Thank you – the checklist will definitely be used by me on future visits to my GP-
    It also outlines what how you can get the best use of the Rxisk tools.

  3. Seroquel sounds like a heavy duty drug. I have taken it for two years.
    Lots of possible side effects overall. I wish that doctor would give a better overall picture
    before the patient starts the medication.

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