Pharmacoepidemiology, public health and pharmacy
This chapter defines pharmacoepidemiology, outlines the scope of epidemiological studies, and provides examples of their application to monitoring drug use. Increasingly, it is a core discipline of pharmacy and public health as the use of drugs is mapped across a given population and evidence of appropriate use, inappropriate use or inequalities gathered. The pharmacoepidemiological studies can be classified as either experimental or observational. The majority of studies are observational, and the variable under study is not controlled. Randomised controlled trials are often considered the gold standard of study designs. Case reports describe the outcome of exposure of an individual patient to a drug and can be useful to indicate the beneficial and/or intended effect or adverse effect of a drug. Case series provide reports of outcome in a group of patients exposed to a given drug. When studying time or secular trends, a relationship between exposure to a drug and a presumed effect can be explored.