New Canadian Study Highlights Link Between Some Medications And Serious Health Problems
(Posted by Tom Lamb at DrugInjuryWatch.com)
A June 3, 2008 article, "More than 1 in 9 ER visits medication-related", in The Globe and Mail reported the highlights of a study published in June 2008 by the Canadian Medical Association Journal which concerned 1,017 patients who presented at the Vancouver General Hospital emergency room (ER) during a 12-week period back in 2006.
The team of researchers who conducted this study were led by Peter Zed, an associate professor at Dalhousie University and the clinical coordinator in emergency medicine at Capital Health in Halifax.
From the June 3 Globe and Mail news article we get these study-findings about adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in Canada:
- 12 per cent, or more than 1 in 9, of all emergency room visits were medication-related, ranging from patients who did not take their medication as prescribed to those who had a bad reaction to a drug;
- adverse drug reactions accounted for nearly 40 per cent of those visits, making them the most common medication-related problem that landed patients in the emergency room;
- 60 per cent of those visits were unpreventable - meaning that patients experienced problems after taking the medication as directed;
- many of the adverse drug reactions in the study involved patients who experienced bleeding complications, rashes or other issues that required hospitalization in some cases;
- non-adherence - when patients don't take medication as directed - was responsible for about 30 per cent of medication-related emergency room visits;
- some patients may be on several different kinds of medication, which can greatly increase the risk of drug-related health problems;
- the most common drug categories associated with problems were antimicrobial agents, which include antibiotics, painkillers containing opioids and anti-psychotic drugs; and,
- over all, about 75 per cent of the medication-related problems documented in the study were considered moderate, 10 per cent severe and about 15 per cent mild. Some of the most common issues were pain, delusion, paranoia and hallucinations, as well as vomiting and other gastrointestinal problems.
In 2006 we ran a four-part series on adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in the U.S., which started with this post, "Extent Of Serious Adverse Drug Reactions In The U.S. (Part of Series: ADRs in US)".
To reiterate what I said in my prior post, we encourage doctors and patients, both, to submit MedWatchreports about ADRs to the agency when appropriate.