Journal reading

Pharmacovigilance in palliative care

Patients receiving palliative care are at high risk of adverse effects from drugs. As these effects can be difficult to distinguish from the symptoms of the terminal illness, harm from medicines is often not recognised.

Debra Rowett and David Currow, Aust Prescr 2014;37:204-9

  • Cost: free
Pharmacovigilance in palliative care

CPD Points

This activity should take approximately 1 hour to complete. It can be included in a pharmacist’s CPD Plan for either one Group 1 credit or, on successful completion of the assessment activity, two Group 2 credits. Pharmacists should self-record this activity for CPD purposes.

Pharmacy Competency Standards

  • 7.1 Contribute to therapeutic decision making
  • 7.2 Provide ongoing medication management
  • 7.3 Influence patterns of medicine use


This activity has been designed to take around 1 hour to complete - this is based on reading the article from an issue of Australian Prescriber and completing a quiz. You will be provided with immediate feedback on your answers and a certificate of completion will be available for you to download for self-reporting purposes.


Learning objectives

  1. Understand that new symptoms in a patient receiving palliative care may be adverse drug reactions.
  2. Identify the common adverse effects of drugs used in palliative care.
  3. Ask about symptoms that patients may not spontaneously volunteer.
  4. Review patients’ medications as their needs and wishes change during palliative care.