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In this blog interview Dr Igho Onakpoya shares with us which systematic review that he’s led or been involved in he would choose to take with him to read, if he was stranded on a desert island.

a beautiful tropical island with white sand, palm trees, turquoise sea and a deep blue sky, with a small picture of assorted, multi-colour pills superimposed in one corner

Can you introduce yourself and share your role in the MSc EBHC (Systematic Reviews) programme?

Hello! My name is Igho. I am a Physician and a Senior Associate Tutor in Evidence-Based Health Care (EBHC). I teach within the Complex Reviews module – Individual Participant Data (IPD) systematic reviews. I am also a Supervisor in the MSc EBHC programme.

If you were stranded on a "Desert Island", which systematic review that you have led or been involved in might you take with you to read?
I would take along the systematic review of 462 medicinal products that were withdrawn from the market because of adverse drug reactions i.e.: Post-marketing withdrawal of 462 medicinal products because of adverse drug reactions: a systematic review of the world literature - PubMed (

What type of review was it?
It was a review of world literature encompassing information from conventional scientific databases, the WHO database, drug regulatory websites, encyclopedias, newsletters, and textbooks.

Why did you choose this review?
I chose to do the review because there were no published studies that explored the trends of post-marketing withdrawals of medicinal products to which adverse reactions were attributed.

What did your review show?
The review showed that hepatotoxicity was the common reason for withdrawal because of adverse drug reactions. Withdrawals were significantly more likely in Africa compared to other continents. Anecdotal (case) reports formed the basis for withdrawal in over 70% of instances.

What did you particularly enjoy about the review?
The review highlighted inconsistencies in how regulatory actions are enforced across geographical regions when adverse drug reactions come to light.

 Reflecting on your review, what one learning would you offer individuals completing a systematic review for the first time?

I think formulating a clear research question is vital. Because if you don’t have a clear question, you may run into one or more hitches in the process of conducting the review. I suggest doing do a proper literature review to be certain about the issue you want to address.

 Finally, if you were stranded on a "Desert Island" and about to read your review, what one food or drink treat would you bring with you?

I would take with me a cooler of jollof rice and sparkling water.


 You can learn more about the MSc EBHC (Systematic Reviews) programme through the dedicated webpage or by contacting


The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CEBM as a group.