Pharmacoepidemiological research is the study of the use, safety and efficacy of drugs once they have been marketed and entered common usage amongst the population. Pharmacoepidemiology involves the whole spectrum of therapies. Drugs can also be used in epidemiological studies as indicators of illness. The Norwegian Prescription Database along with other key health registries and health studies are important data sources in our research and analyses in the field of pharmaceuticals. The department is responsible for national and international reporting on pharmaceuticals within the NIPH. The department also serves as a WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Statistics Methodology.
The department is involved in a number of ongoing studies and projects, including studies on the use of various types of drugs by children and young people, e.g. ADHD drugs, antidepressants, sleep medication, and drugs for treating asthma and diabetes. These studies often rely on a range of different registries and health studies, which provides good opportunities for describing various aspects of medication use and how the use develops over time. The department has also participated in several major Nordic studies on the safety of medication use by pregnant women and its effect on the child. In the field of cardiovascular health we develop risk models for use in national prevention guidelines. The projects include the use of cardiovascular medication following a heart attack, social inequalities regarding the use of medication and studies on the efficacy and side-effects of medication amongst the population. The projects use registries, data from various cardiovascular population studies, and data from the CVDNOR project involving hospital discharge diagnoses in the period 1994–2009. The department works extensively with various research communities both national, in the Nordic region and globally.
International activities involving the Department of Pharmacoepidemiology
WHO centre: International method for classifying drugs and drug utilization.
The WHO centre (WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Statistics Methodology) works on behalf of the WHO international headquarters in Geneva. The centre is tasked with developing and maintaining the ATC/DDD methodology (ATC = Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical. DDD = Defined Daily Dose). ATC is an international classification system for drugs to allow comparison and tracking of drug consumption nationally and internationally. The drugs are classified down to substance level. A technical measuring unit (DDD) is used to measure drug consumption. The centre is working with an international group of experts appointed by the WHO headquarters. A similar classification system for veterinary drugs (ATCvet) has been developed and is being maintained by the centre. The WHO centre's ATC/DDD website.