Roughly 4.5 million outpatient visits to physicians and emergency rooms per year are due to medication problems, with roughly 400,000 of these patients subsequently hospitalized. One-half of one percent of all ambulatory visits are due to adverse drug events, which is more than visits from conditions such as pneumonia or strep throat. These are some of the findings from a report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. They also report that overall, 1.9 million hospitalizations per year are due to medication side effects or errors.
A brochure designed to address this problem put out by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices notes that a large percentage of people are taking too many medications, not taking their medications properly or a combination of both. Nearly one-third of all adults will take five or more different medications each day. Four out of five adults will use prescription medicines, over the counter drugs or dietary supplements in any given week in the U.S. This creates a real danger of negative drug interactions leading to severe medical complications and even death.
To reduce your risks, the Institute recommends that you communicate with your physician or pharmacist. Make sure you know when and how you should take your medications, discuss potential side effect, understand how your drugs may interact with each other and make sure you know what you should do if you miss a dose.
If you believe that you or a loved one has been harm by an adverse drug reaction due to the negligence of your healthcare provider, please contact our office for a free consultation.