iGuard Medication Alerts

Do you know about iGuard? I never want to sound like a salesperson, but it is a great service "launched in 2007 as a startup venture funded by Quintiles Transnational...to promote better communication and research about drug safety." Huh? A little bit of hype, and you wonder, how are they going to do that?

On the surface, iGuard is a DDI checker, "a healthcare service that helps monitor the safety of your medications (including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, nutritional supplements and herbal extracts)" like ePocrates, DoubleCheckMD and PharmaSurveyor, but has a lot of other benefits as well. FD I know and have spoken with representatives from all of these companies - and they all do more than just check for drug interactions. I am just placing them in this category for now.

I signed up for iGuard a few months back, seeing if there was any synergy with Intelecare and kind of forgot about it, as I know the drugs I take do not have any interactions with each other. A few days ago I was twittering about another Health 2.0 company, and a VP of Quintiles pinged me to ask if I had heard of iGuard. I replied I had an account and went back to look at it again.

Users add the medications they are taking, and their health problems to see if there are any side effects, and then can get information about said meds and conditions. The interface for the medications is very user friendly with Wikipedia content, prescribing info, indications, fact & figures, side effects, as well as charts based on other users on the same drug and feedback from other patients.

For Niaspan ER, the health information is very straight forward: "This product is used in the treatment of patients with high lipid levels (including cholesterol). It's exact mechanism of action is not well understood." I did not know that researchers and MDs did not know how Niaspan works! Learning already. My risk rating is 2, meaning no harmful long-term side effects or interactions. 2,630 patients using iGuard take Niaspan, 53% have side effects (flushing being the most common), 7.0 satisfaction score (mine is a 9), etc... Point being, lots of great information, and a anonymous comment board to post.

This is what got me thinking about them today however, an email from them that stated the FDA is stopping the import of medicines from Ranbaxy Laboratories due to the concerns they are not following US standard for good manufacturing practices. Here is part of the email:

"Although Tricor is one of the medications manufactured by Ranbaxy, drug shortages are not expected because, in most instances, there are enough other suppliers that can help meet demand for Tricor.

For more information, please visit:

* * * *

This alert will have very little impact on most patients. However, you should be aware that your pharmacy may dispense Tricor manufactured by a different generic company the next time you get your prescription filled.  The effectiveness and safety of generic medication is equal, but some tablets or capsules look different depending on the manufacturer. If your prescription ever looks different, it is always a good idea to ask your pharmacist why the tablets or capsules look different.

This alert is not related to any safety concerns with Ranbaxy products currently distributed in the United States. If you are using medicine covered by this alert you should continue to take it as directed - the risk of suddenly stopping this medication is likely to be greater than any risk associated with their manufacturing. If you have any additional questions about how this FDA alert affects your medications, please talk with your pharmacist."

I got this email at 7:45 pm last night, after I had "shut down" for the day - and stopped inputing information via the web. I read this around 11 pm and thought wow, this is great. Of course I could get this news with the information I read throughout the day, however it was presented to me before the news broke, and provided me with a calm, knowing that I would be OK with my Tricor.

Blog Archive