LAS VEGAS – It is important for pharmacists to stay on top of the latest drug safety communications from the FDA, which has provided numerous ways to accomplish that task, according to a presentation at the ASHP Midyear 2016 Clinical Meeting and Exhibition.1
Kimberly W. Chiu, PharmD—Consumer Safety Officer in the Division of Drug information at the FDA—discussed drug safety topics at the meeting. She stressed that it is important for pharmacists to check the administration’s website frequently at for updates such as medication labeling changes and safety warnings to better communicate information with patients. She said the administration also has social media outlets such as their Twitter and Facebook accounts to keep pharmacists up-to-date.
Chiu noted several examples in recent years in which changes, such as ones pertaining to opioid and fluoroquinolone policies, affected the way clinicians prescribe certain medications.
She said the FDA’s Opioid Action Plan aims to “reverse the epidemic while still providing patients in pain access to effective relief.”  The plan has led to several changes in how opioids should be prescribed in recent years, and those changes have all been detailed on the agency’s website, Chiu explained.
Drug safety communications about fluoroquinolones have been ongoing, Chiu noted, adding that, in recent years, the administration has issued several communications relating to safety issues, including the potential for tendonitis, tendon ruptures, and peripheral neuropathy with the use of fluoroquinolones.
She encouraged pharmacists to “use systemic fluoroquinolones for patients with acute sinusitis, acute bronchitis, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections only as a last option,” and also to “know the moment it happens,” referring to changes in drug labeling, by frequently visiting  and the administration’s Twitter account, @fda_drug_info.
1. Chiu K. Drug safety topics, FDA update 2016: public health and regulatory issues impacting todays practice. Presented at: ASHP Midyear 2016 Clinical Meeting and Exhibition. Dec. 3-8, 2016. Las Vegas.