Drug reactions send 1.1 million older adults to EDs annually

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 28, 2011

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Nearly 80% of emergency department visits by patients 50 and older involve adverse drug reactions, according to a report released in March by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (link).

Almost one-quarter of these visits involved narcotic and non-narcotic pain relievers, more than any other type of drug, the report said. Nearly 62% of the drug-related ED visits occurred among patients 65 and older. In all, adults 50 and older made 1.1 million ED visits related to adverse drug reactions in 2008, researchers found.

Patients can reduce the risk of adverse drug reactions by filling all their prescriptions at one pharmacy, seeking help from family members in managing their medications, and keeping their physicians and other health professionals apprised of all the drugs, vitamins and supplements they are taking, the report said.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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