Meds IQ | Patient Support | Communication with patients/parents

Adverse drug reactions in children (ADRIC)

Talking with families about medicines and adverse drug reactions in children, within both community and hospital settings.

The problem

The lack of evidence to guide clinicians about parents’ and children’s information needs when a child has experienced problems that family members believe to be associated with the use of medicines.


To inform the management of communication about adverse drug reactions in children by identifying unmet support, information and communication needs, as described by parents and children.

Making the case for change

The project comprised a series of qualitative studies conducted as part of an NIHR research programme involving in-depth interviews with over 90 participants, including children and young people, parents and health practitioners.  We found that communication about children’s ADRs was a source of difficulty for families. Our findings provide guidance on what issues families wanted to be explained when medicines were prescribed and their support needs in the aftermath of a suspected adverse drug reaction. We produced academic publications on our findings and delivered numerous presentations at meetings and conferences attended by stakeholders such as health practitioners, researchers, regulators (e.g. MHRA) and parents.    


The publications are:


Arnott J, et al (2012) Enhancing communication about paediatric medicines: Lessons from a qualitative study of parents' experiences of their child's suspected adverse drug reaction. PLoS ONE 7 (10), e46022

Arnott J, et  al (2012) What can we learn from parents about enhancing participation in pharmacovigilance? British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 75, 1109-1117

Smyth R, et al (2014) ADRIC: Adverse Drug Reactions In Children - a programme of research using mixed methods. Programme Grants for Applied Research;2(3) DOI: 10.3310/pgfar02030

Your improvement

Informed by our qualitative studies, we produced leaflets for parents and CYP about adverse drug reactions. The leaflets support parents/ children in talking with health practitioners about adverse drug reactions and included a list of suggested questions, addressing needs identified by our study.  The leaflets underwent up to eight cycles of review by parents, clinicians, children and other stakeholders. Feedback indicated that the parent leaflet supported both clinicians and parents in their communication, prompting clinicians to include information they would not normally have covered and giving parents ‘permission’ to ask questions they might not have otherwise felt able to ask.


For more information and the leaflets, please visit:

Learning and next steps

Now that the leaflets have been developed and the evaluation indicates that they seem to be helpful  we would like to find ways to make sure the leaflets are actually used in practice.

Quality assurance/MHRA Registration

Extensive review and evaluation as part of an in depth NIHR research study. The leaflets have also been approved by Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.