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Serious adverse event

A serious adverse event (SAE) in human drug trials are defined as any untoward medical occurrence that at any dose results in

  1. death,
  2. is life-threatening
  3. requires inpatient hospitalization or prolongation of existing hospitalization
  4. results in persistent or significant disability/incapacity, or
  5. is a congenital anomaly/birth defect.[1]

The term "life-threatening" in the definition of "serious" refers to an event in which the patient was at risk of death at the time of the event; it does not refer to an event which hypothetically might have caused death if it were more severe.[1] Adverse events are further defined as “Any untoward medical occurrence in a patient or clinical investigation subject administered a pharmaceutical product and which does not necessarily have to have a causal relationship with this treatment.”[1]


Investigators in human clinical trials are obligated to report these events in clinical study reports [2] . Research suggests that these events are often inadequately reported in publicly available reports.[3] Because of the lack of these data and uncertainty about methods for synthesising them, individuals conducting systematic reviews and meta-analysis of therapeutic interventions often unknowingly overemphasise health benefit.[4] In order to balance the overemphasis on benefit, scholars have called for more complete reporting of harm from clinical trials.[5]

Related Terms

Serious adverse effects , serious adverse reactions, or suspected unexpected serious adverse reactions (SUSAR) are serious adverse events judged to be related to therapy. A SUSAR is to be reported to the regulatory authority by using the CIOMS form:

  • The event must be a SAE.
  • There must be a certain degree of probability that the event is an adverse reaction on the administered drug.
  • The adverse reaction must be unexpected, that is to say, not foreseen in the SPC text (Summary of Product Characteristics (for an authorised medicinal product)) or the Investigator’s Brochure (for an unauthorised medicinal product).

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Serious_adverse_event". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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