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Over Half of Adverse Drug Reactions in Hospitals Are Preventable: Study
Date:9/9/2011

ll 71 percent of drug reactions could have been avoided.

Among hospitalized patients, the frequency of harmful drug reactions was 1.6 percent, and 45 percent of them were preventable.

The researchers added that as more drugs become available for people of all ages, the number of adverse drug reactions is likely to increase. They said it's important to know which could have been prevented since they are typically much more severe than those that were unavoidable.

In a different study, they noted, researchers found that nearly a third of preventable adverse drug reactions were life-threatening, compared to those that were unavoidable as part of treatment.

The Swedish researchers also cautioned that patients should not stop taking their medications for fear of an adverse reaction.

"Although it is clearly important to carry out such studies, we would like to emphasize that for most of the time, medications do much more good than harm," said Hakkarainen. "We would not like to think of people discontinuing therapy as a result of our conclusions."

Experts say that information presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary because it has not been subjected to the rigorous scrutiny required for publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health provides more information on drug reactions.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: International Pharmaceutical Federation, news release, Sept. 6, 2011


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