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Keywords:

  • epidemiology;
  • hypothesis generation;
  • screening

Abstract

Case-control surveillance systems are useful for ‘signal’ generation, i.e., signaling potential previously unidentified adverse effects of drugs. Two systems currently in operation, the Slone Epidemiology Unit's Case-Control Surveillance and the Birth Defects Study, have monitored drug effects since 1976. With extensive information on the diagnoses and covariates, the systems have the capacity to carry out in-depth analyses in which the outcome measure is more specifically defined and in which confounding is controlled, thus reducing the possibility of false alarms. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.