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Adverse Drug Reactions Result in over 700,000 ER Visits Per Year

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The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has published the results of a study which reports over 700,000 Emergency Room visits a year as a result of adverse drug reactions (ADR’s) to prescription drugs and over the counter medications. The article is titled “National Surveillance of Emergency Department Visits for Outpatient Adverse Drug Events” and reports:

Patients 65 or older made up 25% of those ER visits and almost half of those ER visits required a hospital admission;
About 33% of the ER visits were the result of allergic reactions, while another third of the visits were attributable to unintentional overdoses;
An estimated 40% of the ER visits involved a patient’s use of CNS agents (especially opioid-containing analgesics) and systemic antimicrobials (especially amoxicillin).

The study concluded: Adverse drug events among outpatients that lead to emergency department visits are an important cause of morbidity in the United States, particularly among individuals aged 65 years or older and recommended that ongoing, population-based surveillance can help monitor these events and target prevention strategies.