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iGuard: A New Drug Safety Website

iGuard.org, a new website that recently launched, aims to help patients be better informed about their medications and about new safety alerts.

All medications have potential side effects, and it's sometimes difficult for patients to determine by looking at medication labels whether a given drug is truly "risky." iGuard seeks to simplify concerns about side effects by placing medications in one of five general risk categories: low risk, general risk, guarded, elevated risk, and high risk.
iGuard uses Risk Ratings to convert medical jargon into simple, actionable information. iGuard Risk Ratings form the basis of a new language that helps you understand more about the safety of your drugs - and respond more effectively as new information emerges.

Anyone who has tried reading a drug label or a medical journal knows how difficult they are to understand. iGuard makes it simple for you to be aware of your risk of developing serious side effects, and to respond effectively to future drug safety information through our iGuard Risk Ratings.
In addition to proving risk ratings, which may highlight medications that have a higher potential for side effects, iGuard provides safety alerts. These alerts may come from the FDA, a drug manufacturer, or from new research studies. If patients register on iGuard, they can receive updated risk profiles and new safety alerts for each of their medications. Patients can have optionally also have these alerts sent to their physicians so they can be informed about what information iGuard is sending them.
Has the nightly news become your source for new drug safety information? Wouldn't you prefer your safety information be sent directly to you in a timely and personalized manner? Welcome to iGuard.

An iGuard Safety Alert is a short message sent to you the patient and your physician (subject to your consent). These alerts are sent as soon as something new is learned about a medicine you have reported taking in your iGuard Profile.
iGuard also encourages physicians to report new potential drug side effects through an interface that also reports to the FDA's MedWatch site. iGuard's business model seems to involve using information provided by patients on side effects to provide partners and clients with early, useful information:
To cover the cost of operating our efficiently structured communication network, iGuard will offer customized drug safety studies, risk management programs, and other research opportunities. We are confident that these market opportunities will cover the cost of our communication network and further our knowledge of drug safety.
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About the Author


Dr. Schwimmer's blog explores the intersection of medicine, new technologies, and the Internet.