Suspected Medicine Adverse Reaction Search
Essential information about the Suspected Medicine Adverse Reaction Search (SMARS)
An assessment of the safety of a medicine cannot be made using only the
information contained in SMARS.
Medsafe advises patients not to make any changes to their medicine treatment
based on information contained in SMARS. Changes to treatment should only be
made following consultation with a healthcare professional.
When using SMARS you should remember that:
- The likelihood of experiencing an adverse reaction to a medicine cannot be
estimated from this database as there is no information on how many people
have taken the medicine and the extent of underreporting is not known.
- For these reasons, it is also not possible to directly compare the risks
of different medicines using SMARS.
- Reports are sent to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM) if
the reporter suspects that a medicine caused a reaction. This does not
necessarily mean that the medicine did cause the reaction.
- CARM and Medsafe staff consider many factors when assessing whether a
medicine has caused an adverse reaction.
- The number of reports for a medicine can be influenced by how many
patients are taking the medicine, media attention, the nature of the reactions
and other factors which vary over time.
- The quality of the information in SMARS is limited by the quality of the
- The information contained in SMARS may change over time due to quality
control procedures and/or receipt of further information.
- Reactions may also be caused by other ingredients in the medicine (excipients).
SMARS contains anonymised information from reports of suspected adverse
reactions to medicines but does not include the following:
- Reports not causally related to the medicine (assessed by CARM).
- Any report where it is considered that the patient may be identifiable
(e.g. due to the rareness of the reaction).
- Reports from the last three months.
Please note that some non-causally related suspected adverse reactions may be
included in SMARS if the report also contained a causally related suspected
About the release of this information
This information is released in keeping with the purpose of the Official
Information Act 1982 to progressively increase the availability of official
information to the people of New Zealand. The data contained in SMARS does not
include any personal information within the meaning of the Privacy Act 1993.
Use of SMARS data
If you wish to copy or circulate information from SMARS please ensure that a
copy of these guidelines is provided. Prior to any publication of this data you
must contact CARM and Medsafe and include in the publication:
- the source of the information
- the limitations of the information
- that the information does not represent the opinion of CARM or Medsafe.
If you require further information please contact Medsafe by emailing
by telephoning 04 819 6800.