Adverse drug events occur when a medication causes harm to a person. Nearly 450,000 older adults visit emergency rooms each year, which is more than twice as often as younger people.
After an emergency visit, older adults are almost seven times more likely to be admitted than younger people. However, the majority of these hospitalizations are brought on by a small number of medications that need to be closely monitored to avoid complications.
Examples of these drugs that cause adverse drug events include blood thinners, diabetic medications, seizure medications, and prescription opioids.
Causes of Adverse Drug Events in Patients
It may not come as a surprise that ADEs affect more than 7 million people annually, given that more than half of the US population takes prescription medicine. Many patients receive four or more prescriptions per visit in addition to OTC medications.
The vast number of medications taken leads to complicated medical situations that increase the likelihood of an ADE. Adverse medication reactions have the following most frequent causes:
Reconciliation of drugs is a significant worry for individuals who are taking various medications. When patients take several medications, there is a chance that some of these therapies may interact poorly and harm the patient’s health. This can be very difficult when the patient transitions from a single healthcare facility to another, such as by leaving the medical facility and enrolling in an outpatient program.
This can lead to adverse medication events, which are arguably the most concerning ones. According to a study on 30-day hospital stays, patients who were given the incorrect prescription account for 50% of all readmissions brought on by drug-related events. In particular, analgesics, diuretics, and antithrombotics fall within this category.
A patient mistake is to blame for the remaining 50% of adverse drug events. Patients may erroneously take too much or too little of their prescription medications, forget how much of a certain medicine they have already used, or misunderstand their physician’s recommendations.
How to Prevent Adverse Drug Events
To lessen the possibility of harm from drug-related adverse events in adults:
- Keep a record of your prescriptions.
- Follow instructions
- Ask questions
- Follow your doctor’s advice regarding any recommended blood tests.
- Only take medications as prescribed.