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High rate of drug-related visits to the emergency department

Drug-related problems are a significant cause of emergency department visits and subsequent resource use, according to a recent review of the literature. Up to 28% of visits were found to be drug-related, 70% were preventable and as many as 24% resulted in hospital admission.

The drug classes most frequently implicated in drug-related visits were nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anticonvulsants, antidiabetic drugs, antibiotics, respiratory drugs, hormones, central nervous system drugs and cardiovascular drugs. Problems usually arose as a result of adverse drug reactions, noncompliance or inappropriate prescribing, and women and the elderly seemed to be at particular risk.

Patel P, Zed PJ. Drug related visits to the emergency department: how big is the problem? Pharmacotherapy 2002;22(7):915-23.

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