Purpose: In drug safety, there is a lack of guidance on how prioritization of safety issues should be performed. The aim of this literature review is to provide an overview of criteria used for signal prioritization and of the associated decision support frameworks. Methods: A search strategy was constructed to identify relevant articles in Medline/Embase databases from the period from 1 January 1995 to 31 August 2015. The prioritization criteria were extracted and classified in relevant categories. Results: From an initial set of 63 articles, 11 were retained for full review. The articles mentioned 48 criteria used in the prioritization process, with a median of six criteria per study [range: 1-16]. More than half of the criteria (63%), referred to strength of evidence while 19% related to public health impact, 14% to general public and media attention and 4% to novelty of the drug event association. Fifteen criteria were tested for predictive value with 11 showing positive results, most of them from the strength of evidence category. Six decision-making frameworks are presented, which incorporate criteria from various categories. Five of these frameworks were tested against expert decisions or by other means, but only in one database each and for a limited set of products. Conclusions: There is a wide range of prioritization criteria described in the literature; however, few of them demonstrated predictive value. Many criteria with predictive value were related to strength of evidence category and to novelty. There were few attempts at integrating different criteria in decision support frameworks. Five of the frameworks were tested for validity and showed usefulness, while at least three are already in use for prioritization.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Drug safety, Pharmacoepidemiology, Prioritization, Product surveillance postmarketing, Signal detection
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1002/pds.4128, hdl.handle.net/1765/96082
Journal Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety: an international journal
Citation
Păcurariu, A.C, Coloma, P.M, Gross-Martirosyan, L. (Liana), Sturkenboom, M.C.J.M, & Straus, S.M.J.M. (2017). Decision making in drug safety-a literature review of criteria used to prioritize newly detected safety issues. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety: an international journal, 26(3), 327–334. doi:10.1002/pds.4128