TUCSON, Ariz., April 20, 2020 — The Arizona Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics (AZCERT), a nonprofit dedicated to the safe use of medicines, is making MedSafety Scan®, a web-based decision support system, available free to medical professionals around the world, especially those treating high risk COVID-19 patients. MedSafety Scan can warn healthcare providers when their patients are prescribed drugs that place them at high risk of developing a potentially lethal cardiac arrhythmia known as torsades de pointes (TdP). MedSafety Scan also checks for potentially dangerous drug-interactions and suggests options for how to monitor the patient and reduce their risk of harm.
Several of the medications now being tested or prescribed for COVID-19 (e.g. chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin) can cause TdP which, although rare, occurs more often in patients with medical conditions that are commonly found in very ill COVID-19 patients.
“Our goal is to equip healthcare providers with this important prescribing tool as they face this global crisis,” said AZCERT founder and President Ray Woosley, MD, PhD. For nearly 20 years, AZCERT has been providing the public and healthcare professionals information on drug safety through its website crediblemeds.org. It is internationally recognized as the single source for a database known as QTdrugs. AZCERT’s new program, MedSafety Scan, utilizes QTdrugs and patient data to make recommendations that are immediately relevant to each patient.
Even though many hospitals and healthcare systems, including Banner Health, Mayo Clinic, Indiana University, Honor Health and hospital systems in Belgium and the Netherlands, use AZCERT’s QTdrugs database to detect patients at risk of TdP, many healthcare professionals lack such support. With the launch of medsafetyscan.org, anyone can now gain free access to the QTdrugs database and the decision support they need for optimal decision-making when prescribing for patients with COVID-19.
Healthcare professionals can register at medsafetyscan.org to create a free account that allows them to enter de-identified basic medical information about each of their patients. MedSafety Scan calculates a TdP risk score and, when elevated, will inform the clinician of the magnitude of risk (Very High, High or Moderate) and provide suggestions to manage that risk. The suggestions may include changing to an alternate drug with less arrhythmia risk or to monitor the patient’s electrocardiogram or electrolytes.
AZCERT’s MedSafety Scan is made available as a point of care resource for healthcare professionals during this COVID-19 healthcare crisis.
AZCERT (Arizona CERT) was founded in 1999 as one of 14 university-based, federally funded Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs), with a mission to foster the safe use of medicines. In 2012, AZCERT became an independent nonprofit organization incorporated in Arizona. AZCERT's website was renamed CredibleMeds® in 2014 to better reflect its scope and global recognition as a trusted resource on the safe use of medications for healthcare providers, research scientists and the public. AZCERT maintains CredibleMeds' databases and its many resources and is best known for the QTdrugs lists of drugs that have a risk of QT prolongation and cardiac arrhythmias. For more information, visit crediblemeds.org.
Roxan Triolo Olivas