Since we do not know much about the efficacy and safety of dietary supplements and functional foods (DS), it is important to collect DS-related events and to share the information among healthcare professionals. Therefore, we aimed to develop an internet-based system which would allow medical doctors and pharmacists to report DS-related events. We conducted a questionnaire survey among pharmacists about their experiences and views of DS-related adverse event reporting. Many pharmacists did not report events because they never had any patient who reported an event. This might have been, in part, owing to lack of awareness of an occurrence, so we collected events using our internet-based system, which periodically offers educational DS information. After educational commentaries and elucidation were appended, collected cases were distributed to the registered members via web pages to encourage them to be more concerned about the safety of DS. Additionally, we constructed a simple posting system for members to easily report similar events, because the questionnaire survey revealed that lack of time and uncertainty of causal relation between an event and DS were sometimes reasons not to report. We obtained several DS-related events both via the normal data collecting form and the simple posting system, and subsequently confirmed reports by e-mail contact. Our interactive system enabled us to obtain more detailed information about posted events. In conclusion, this information system for DS was proved to be useful to facilitate reporting of DS-related events by healthcare professionals and to accumulate events similar to already reported cases.
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