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A component of the Canadian Medication Incident Reporting and Prevention System (CMIRPS).

Adverse Drug Reactions

I had a problem with my medication. Was it a medication error or an adverse drug reaction? What is the difference?

A medication error is a mistake with medication, or a problem that could cause a mistake with medication. "Medication error" is another name for one kind of medication error. Medication errors include obvious things like receiving the wrong medication or dose, but might also include problems like a confusing label that might lead to someone receiving the wrong medication.

Adverse drug reactions are unwanted effects that happen when drugs are used under normal conditions. Adverse drug reactions are also called side effects. Adverse drug reactions are not medication errors. Unlike a medication error, an adverse drug reaction generally doesn't involve a mistake and typically can't be prevented. Adverse drug reactions can be serious (for example, liver or kidney damage caused by your medicine) or not so serious (for example, feeling nauseated when you take your medicine).

You should submit your adverse drug reaction report to the Canada Vigilance Program, operated by Health Canada.

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