Genetic variations of enzymes that affect the pharmacokinetics and hence effects of medications differ between ethnicities, resulting in variation in the risk of adverse drug reactions (ADR) between different populations. Previous work has demonstrated that risk-group considerations can be incorporated into approaches of statistical signal detection. It is unknown whether databases of individual case safety reports (ICSRs) are sensitive to pharmacogenomic differences between populations.
The aim of this study was to explore the sensitivity of a global database of ICSRs to known pharmacogenomic risk variants common in Japan.
The data source was VigiBase, the global database of ICSRs, including all reports entered in the version frozen on 5 January 2020. Subgroup disproportionality analysis was used to compare ICSRs of two subgroups, Japan and rest of world (RoW). Reports for UGT1A1-metabolized irinotecan and the CYP2C19-metabolized drugs voriconazole, escitalopram and clopidogrel were selected for comparison between the subgroups based upon known genetic polymorphisms with high prevalence in Japan. Contrast between the subgroups was quantified by IC delta
), a robust shrinkage observed-to-expected (OE) ratio on a log scale. Harmonic mean p values (HMP) were calculated for each drug to evaluate whether a list of pre-specified ADRs were collectively significantly over- (or under-)reported as hypothesized. Daily drug dosages were calculated for ICSRs with sufficient information, and dose distributions were compared between Japan and RoW and related to differences in regionally approved doses.
The predictions of over-reporting patterns for specific ADRs were observed and confirmed in bootstrap HMP analyses (p = 0.004 for irinotecan and p < 0.001 for each of voriconazole, escitalopram and clopidogrel) and compared with similar drugs with different metabolic pathways. The impact of proactive regulatory action, such as recommended dosing and therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM), was also observable within the global database. For irinotecan and escitalopram, there was evidence of use of lower dosages as recommended in the Japanese labels; for voriconazole, there was evidence of use of TDM with an over-reporting of terms related to drug level measurements and an under-reporting of liver toxicity.
Pharmaco-ethnic vulnerabilities caused by pharmacogenomic differences between populations may contribute to differences in ADR reporting between countries in a global database of ICSRs. Regional analyses within a global database can inform on the effectiveness of local risk minimization measures and should be leveraged to catalyse the conversion of real-world usage into safer use of drugs in ethnically tailored ways.