Pharmacoepidemiology is the study of the uses and effects of drugs in well-defined populations.
To accomplish this study, pharmacoepidemiology borrows from both pharmacology and epidemiology. Thus, pharmacoepidemiology is the bridge between both pharmacology and epidemiology. Pharmacology is the study of the effect of drugs and clinical pharmacology is the study of effect of drugs on clinical humans. Part of the task of clinical pharmacology is to provide a risk benefit assessment by effects of drugs in patients:
Other parameters relating to drug use may benefit epidemiological methodology. Pharmacoepidemiology then can also be defined as the transparent application of epidemiological methods through pharmacological treatment of conditions to better understand the conditions to be treated.
Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of diseases and other health states in populations. Epidemiological studies can be divided into two main types:
Pharmacoepidemiology benefits from the methodology developed in general epidemiology and may further develop them for applications of methodology unique to needs of pharmacoepidemiology. There are also some areas that are altogether unique to pharmacoepidemiology, e.g., pharmacovigilance. Pharmacovigilance is a type of continual monitoring of unwanted effects and other safety-related aspects of drugs that are already placed in current growing integrating markets. In practice, pharmacovigilance refers almost exclusively to spontaneous reporting systems which allow health care professionals and others to report adverse drug reactions to the central agency. The central agency combines reports from many sources to produce a more informative profile for drug products than could be done based on reports from fewer health care professionals.