Cohort Size

The medicines monitored are listed in Tables 27.1 and 27.2. Monitoring has been completed for 22 and 16 are currently undergoing monitoring. Enrolling of new patients has ceased for three of the latter, Multiload Cu375, salmeterol and eformoterol, but follow-up work is still continuing. The mean cohort size was 10 964 patients for drugs where monitoring has been completed and the mean duration of monitoring was 58 months. The desirable size for a cohort is around 10 000 patients (Inman, 1981a). The medicines ranged from those with regular long-term use (e.g. lipid lowering agents) to those used intermittently (e.g. sumatriptan) and intra-uterine devices. Prescription returns are received from pharmacies throughout the whole country for all the monitored medicines. Thus the cohorts consist of virtually the total population of patients prescribed each monitored drug.

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