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Centre of Epidemiology and Preventive Pharmacology (SEFAP)  



The Centre of Epidemiology and Preventive Pharmacology (SEFAP) consists of the following research units: - University of Milan, Department of Pharmacological Sciences - University of Chieti, Department of Medicine and Science of Aging - University of Ferrara, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine.



Alberico L. Catapano
Full Professor of Pharmacology, University of Milan
Director of Centre of Epidemiology and Preventive Pharmacology (SEFAP)

Elena Tragni
PhD, contract professor for teaching at the Master's Degree in Pharmacovigilance, and responsible for scientific activities of SEFAP

Manuela Casula
PhD student (Medical, Surgical, Clinical, and Experimental Sciences; Curriculum: pharmacoepidemiology, University of Chieti)
Researcher fellow at Centre of Epidemiology and Preventive Pharmacology (SEFAP).

Elena Loggia
SEFAP Secretary
segreteria@sefap.it; segreteria.sefap@unimi.it


Research lines

The Epidemiology and Preventive Pharmacology Centre (SEFAP) aims to promote and conduct research in the fields of pharmacoepidemiology, pharmacoutilization/ pharmacoeconomics and pharmacovigilance, designing studies to investigate various aspects of use and safety of medicines, and develop skills pertaining to the interpretation of epidemiological data and the identification of performance indicators. It also deals with training and information regarding the issues specified, including the website update, the publication of monthly newsletters and the organization of a second level Master and a Postgraduate Course in Pharmacovigilance.

  1. Study of prescribing appropriateness with pharmacoepidemiological methods for the assessment of specific indicators (Beers criteria, prescriptions of potential interacting drugs, prescription of generics, off-label prescriptions, adverse drug reactions, etc.) and development of intervention strategies to improve critical situations, including training of health personnel and patient education (COPE project in collaboration with University Milano-Bicocca and CIRFF of University of Napoli Federico II, IFI project in collaboration with Bergamo LHU, "Informazione di Ritorno in Farmacovigilanza" project)
  2. Characterization of the drug use profile at national and local level, pharmacoeconomic analysis and impact assessment of national and/or regional health policies aimed at improving rational use of drugs and of the available economic resources (COPE project, ASSET study)
  3. Evaluation of the risk/benefit profile of drugs in the context of real-life clinical practice, by estimating the association between their use and the reduction in the incidence of events (effectiveness) or the development of adverse events (safety) (Omega-3 meta-analysis, statin-diabetes study, statin-renal failure study)
  4. Epidemiological studies on chronic diseases of greatest clinical and social relevance (eg. Cardiovascular disease) or in fragile populations (eg. elderly people with multimorbidity) and on the prevalence and incidence of the main risk factors, to support the development and implementation of treatment recommendations by the regulatory authorities and scientific societies (CHECK study in collaboration with "Bassini" Hospital [Dr Liliana Grigore, Dr Fabio Pellegatta, Katia Garlaschelli, Laura Redaelli, Cristina Tidone], SM-Heart Study in collaboration with Health Authority and Cardiology Unit of San Marino, CCM/Failure)

The Centre organizes an annual second level Master course in Pharmacovigilance and collaborates with local and national health agencies and private companies. The Centre is also engaged in initiatives to stimulate interdisciplinary cooperation and to promote the scientific debate about the appropriate use of drugs, through seminars and training courses on topics of interest and the publication of a scientific journal (GIFF, Giornale Italiano di Farmacoeconomia e Farmacoutilizzazione) and monthly newsletters (SEFAPnews).



The research activities of the Centre are carried out mainly using administrative databases containing information on sociodemographics of patients, on drug prescriptions reimbursed in A class and on hospital admission and discharge, and datasets containing clinical information, prepared by the Centre in the context of epidemiological projects (CHECK study, PLIC study or SM-Heart study). The record linkage procedures allow to merge different databases using the anonymized patient code as primary key in order to construct his health care history.

Pharmacoutilization and pharmacoepidemiology analyses involve the application of advanced statistical methodologies (descriptive and inferential statistics). Some risk/benefit evaluations are carried out using the methods of meta-analysis, based on published data from clinical trials or observational studies.


Selected publications 

  1. Casula M, Tragni E, Zambon A, Filippi A, Brignoli O, Cricelli C, Poli A, Catapano AL (2013) C-reactive protein distribution and correlation with traditional cardiovascular risk factors in the Italian population. Eur J Intern Med 24:161-166.
  2. Tragni E, Filippi A, Casula M, Favato G, Brignoli O, Cricelli C, Poli A, Catapano AL (2012) Risk factors distribution and cardiovascular disease prevalence in the Italian population: The CHECK study. OJEpi 2:90-100
  3. Poli A, Casula M, Tragni E, Brignoli O, Filippi A, Cricelli C, Catapano AL (2011) Reaching LDL-c targets in high-risk patients requires high-efficacy cholesterol-lowering drugs in more than 50% of cases. The results of the CHECK study. Pharmacol Res 64(4):393-6.
  4. Corrao G, Scotti L, Zambon A, Baio G, Nicotra F, Conti V, Capri S, Tragni E, Merlino L, Catapano AL, Mancia G (2011) Cost-effectiveness of enhancing adherence to therapy with statins in the setting of primary cardiovascular prevention. Evidence from an empirical approach based on administrative databases. Atherosclerosis 217(2):479-85.
  5. Casula M, Filippi A, Decè F, Defendi L, Gandolfi L, Perego L, Piccinelli R, Catapano AL, Tragni E (2010) Prescription of anti-osteoporosis drugs during 2006-2008 in an Italian local health unit. PharmacoEconomics – Italian Research Articles 12 (2): 71-131.
  6. Filippi A, Casula M, Tragni E, Brignoli O, Cricelli C, Poli A, Catapano AL for The CHECK Study Group (2010) Blood pressure and anti-hypertensive therapy according to the global cardiovascular risk level in Italy: the CHECK study. Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil 17(5):562-8.
  7. Poli A, Tragni E, Casula M, Filippi A, Diotti R, Brignoli O, Cricelli C, Catapano AL, for the CHECK Group (2012) How many patients need statin treatment in a low cardiovascular risk country? LDL-cholesterol target and distance from target distribution in an Italian cohort. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 22(4):327-36.
  8. Favato G, Mariani P, Mills RW, Capone A, Pelagatti M, Pieri V, Marcobelli A, Trotta MG, Zucchi A, Catapano AL (2007) ASSET (Age/Sex Standardised Estimates of Treatment): a research model to improve the governance of prescribing funds in Italy. PLoS One 2(7):e592.
  9. Tragni E, Filippi A, Mazzaglia G, Sessa E, Cricelli C, Catapano AL (2007) Monitoring statin safety in primary care. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 16(6):652-7.
  10. Filippi A, Tragni E, Bignamini AA, Sessa E, Merlini G, Brignoli O, Mazzaglia G, Catapano AL (2005) Cholesterol control in stroke prevention in Italy: a cross-sectional study in family practice. Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil 12(2):159-63.




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