News and Commentary

Drug-related adverse outcomes

Drug-related adverse outcomes were noted in nearly 1.9 million inpatient hospital stays — 4.7 percent of all stays — and 838,000 treat-and-release emergency department visits (0.8 percent of all visits), according to the report “Medication-Related Adverse Outcomes in U.S. Hospitals and Emergency Departments, 2008” from the Agency for Healthcare Resources and Quality (AHRQ).

In the inpatient setting, health care providers should watch for the most common cause of general drug-related adverse outcomes — hormones and synthetic substitutes. This category was responsible for 16.1 percent of all drug-related adverse outcomes (345,300 events). The next-most-common category for both inpatient and treat-and-release ED events was analgesics, antipyretics, and antirheumatics, accounting for 12.5 percent and 11.8 percent of events.

Common specific causes of drug-related adverse outcomes in U.S. hospitals, by setting of care, 2008

Source: Agency for Healthcare Resources and Quality. Medication-Related Adverse Outcomes in U.S. Hospitals and Emergency Departments, 2008


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