The IDs per 1000 patient-months (or patient-weeks) of treatment are then ranked to give estimates of the "real-world" frequency of reported events.

While events with higher incidence densities in the period after exposure compared with subsequent periods are considered safety signals for the product under study, such events may be due to the effects of a product taken before the drug under study was started. For example, cough occurring soon after starting an angiotensin-II (A-II) receptor antagonist (e.g. losartan) may have been caused by an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor taken before starting the A-II antagonist.

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