Causation degrees of conviction

Reliable attribution of a cause-effect relationship provides the biggest problem in this field. The following degrees of conviction assist in attributing adverse events to drugs:2

• Definite: time sequence from taking the drug is reasonable; event corresponds to what is known of the drug; event ceases on stopping the drug; event returns on restarting the drug (rarely advisable).

• Probable: time sequence is reasonable; event corresponds to what is known of the drug; event ceases on stopping the drug; event not reasonably explained by patient's disease.

• Possible: time sequence is reasonable; event corresponds to what is known of the drug; event could readily have been result of the patient's disease or other therapy.

• Conditional: time sequence is reasonable; event does not correspond to what is known of the drug; event could not reasonably be explained by the patient's disease.

• Doubtful: event not meeting the above criteria.

Recognition of adverse drug reactions. When an unexpected event, for which there is no obvious cause, occurs in a patient already taking a drug, the possibility that it is drug-caused must always

2 Journal of the American Medical Association 1975 234: 1236.

Blood Pressure Health

Blood Pressure Health

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...

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