4 drugs accounted for two thirds of emergency hospitalizations in US

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Handful of drugs are responsible for most emergency room visits by patients in US, revealed by CDC researchers (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in a recent study.

The study researchers pointed out four drugs and drug classes – warfarin, oral antiplatelet medications, insulins, and oral hypoglycemic agents.

An estimated 100000 older Americans are hospitalized for adverse drug reactions yearly, and most of those emergencies stem from these four common drugs.

The study used data collected between 2007 and 2009 from a nationally representative sample of 58 hospitals participating in CDC’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System?Cooperative Adverse Drug Event Surveillance project.

Four medications, used alone or together, accounted for two?thirds of the emergency hospitalizations:

– 33 percent, or 33,171 emergency hospitalizations, involved warfarin, a medication used to prevent blood clots.

– 14 percent involved insulins. Insulin injections are used to control blood sugar in people who have diabetes.

– 13 percent involved antiplatelet drugs, such as aspirin or clopidogrel, which prevent platelets, or pieces of blood cells from clumping together to start a clot.

– 11 percent involved diabetes medications that are taken by mouth, called oral hypoglycemic agents.

This study identified specific medication safety issues that provide the greatest opportunities for reducing patient harm and health care utilization today. Continued national monitoring of adverse drug events will be important as new medications are approved and become more commonly used.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA

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