Sunday, April 17, 2011

Drug-Related Adverse Events Soar, Linked to Pricey Hospital Stays

From Internal Medicine

Drug-related adverse events were reported in 1.9 million hospital stays in 2008, a 52% increase in 5 years, according to figures from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

By: MARY ELLEN SCHNEIDER, Internal Medicine News Digital Network
The vast majority of hospital stays associated with drug-related injuries and illnesses, nearly 93%, were attributed to allergic or hypersensitivity reactions. A total of 7% of hospital stays were related to medication poisonings caused by accidental drug overdose or taking the wrong drug.
The data include adverse reactions that originated both in and out of the hospital but resulted in a hospital stay. Researchers aimed to exclude stays resulting from illegal drug use or cases where there was evidence that patients were trying to harm themselves.
Corticosteroids topped the list of drugs causing adverse events in 2008. AHRQ data showed that corticosteroids accounted for more than 283,000 events during inpatient stays in 2008. Corticosteroids were linked to 11.8% of drug-related adverse events in 2004, but that figure rose to 13.2% in 2008. Opiates, anticoagulants, and antineoplastic and immunosuppressive drugs were also high on the list in 2008.
Drug-related adverse events also carried a hefty price tag: In 2008, the average hospital stay for cases with any drug-related adverse outcome was $13,600, compared with an average of $9,200 for all stays.
Inpatient drug-related adverse events disproportionately affected older patients. In 2008, about 53% of drug-related adverse outcomes in the hospital were among patients aged 65 years and older. About 30% of adverse outcomes occurred among patients aged 45-64 years, about 14% were among patients aged 18-44, and 3% were among children under age 18.
The AHRQ figures are based on data from the 2008 HCUP Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a nationwide database of community hospital stays in the United States.


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