Adverse Drug Events: A Common Source of Medical Harm in the United States

According to recent findings published in BMJ Quality & Safety, about 43,000,000 patients worldwide suffer injuries and death caused by medical negligence.

This latest research focused specifically on: 

  • blood clots;
  • adverse drug events;
  • falls;
  • bedsores (pressure ulcers);
  • hospital-acquired pneumonia;
  • catheter-associated bloodstream infections; and
  • catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

In the United States and other high-income countries, one of the most common is adverse drug events. While other countries may not have the resources to reduce the number of those injured by medical harm, this nation does which means that many cases of medical errors are preventable.

Understanding Adverse Drug Events

One of the underlying issues when it comes to patients suffering adverse reactions to medication is the consumption of multiple medications. These are called synergistic reactions.

According to information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 82 percent of people take at least one medication. But as much as 29 percent take five or more medications, which increases the risk of an adverse reaction.

Another issue that is contributing to the number of adverse drug events is when medications that have been on the market to treat a specific condition(s) are found to also treat other ones. When doctors use a drug to treat a problem with a drug that was engineered for a different purpose, this is called off-label use. The rapid development and availability of newer prescription drugs could contribute to off-label use. Many doctors are reprimanded for this behavior.

More and more people are relying upon prescription drugs to treat a variety of health problems. And with many suffering from more than one condition, there is a greater chance that taking more than one drug could lead to harm. With the lack of accountability between doctors and pharmacies, patients are the ones who suffer.

Some of these issues stem from doctors not taking into consideration the effects one drug may have when taken with another. Or a pharmacy may fail to take notice of the dangers of mixing certain medications. But adverse drug events can also occur when a doctor prescribes the wrong dosage or fails to properly monitor a patient on medication.

If you suspect medical negligence is responsible for your adverse drug reaction, contact an attorney at Gacovino, Lake & Associates to go over legal options. Call 800-246-4878.

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