Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

American Medical Association (AMA) News: Quantifying adverse drug events: Med mishaps send millions back for care (with Feb 2012

amednews: Quantifying adverse drug events: Med mishaps send millions back for care :: June 13, 2011 … American Medical News

Yes, this is old too..but interesting.


Reviewing drug lists and making sure patients understand how to take their medicines are two keys to preventing problems.

By KEVIN B. O’REILLY, amednews staff. Posted June 13, 2011.

Every year, adverse drug events send more adult patients to American physician offices and emergency departments than do pneumonia or strep throat.

The trips add up to an estimated 4.5 million annual outpatient visits related to medication problems, with seniors and patients taking more than six medications the most likely to show up in doctors’ offices.

The findings — the first published attempt to estimate the nationwide impact of adverse drug events in the ambulatory setting — come after an April report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that said 1.9 million hospitalizations annually are due to medication side effects or errors. Nearly three-quarters of the 4.5 million adverse drug event-related visits were to physician offices, said the study, published online May 10 in Health Services Research. About 400,000 of these 4.5 million patients are subsequently hospitalized.


“This shows we have to do a better job of looking at medications as the culprits of a lot of the medical problems that are coming in,” she said.

4.5 million ambulatory visits each year are related to adverse drug events.

In total, one-half of 1% of all ambulatory visits are related to adverse drug events, the study said. That may not seem like a lot, but the 4.5 million annual adult outpatient visits for medication problems exceed the numbers for conditions such as strep throat (4.4 million) and pneumonia (4.2 million), said Urmimala Sarkar, MD, MPH, lead author of the study.

“Those are things that we think of as common problems,” said Dr. Sarkar, assistant professor of medicine in residence at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine’s Division of General Internal Medicine. “We should think of this as a common problem too.”

Patients 65 and older were more than twice as likely as middle-age patients and nearly three times likelier than patients between 25 and 44 to experience adverse drug events serious enough to send them to a doctor or an ED, the study said. After adjusting for age, gender, insurance status and other factors, patients taking six drugs or more had the highest odds of experiencing adverse drug events…..


“Adverse Drug Events in U.S. Adult Ambulatory Medical Care,” Health Services Research, published online May 10 (

“Medication-Related Adverse Outcomes in U.S. Hospitals and Emergency Departments, 2008,” Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Statistical Brief #109, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, April (

Preventing Medication Errors, Institute of Medicine, 2007 (

Institute for Safe Medication Practices Medication Errors Reporting Program (

Food and Drug Administration on how to report serious adverse drug events to the agency (


February 13, 2012 - Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety | ,

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