Daily Brief: 2016.11.25


Emergency Room Visits Due to Drug Reactions

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) one out of every 250 Americans visited the emergency room because of a drug reaction each year in 2013 and 2014. This is an increase from 2005 and 2006, the last time drug reactions were studied. Estimates for children, teens and young adults remained the same. However, elderly Americans ended up in the ER at a higher rate during 2013 and 2014 than in the past.
(Sources: CNNManaged Care)

The article, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed approximately 42,585 cases across 58 emergency rooms. From this data, researchers were able to estimate that four out of every 1,000 people in the United States went to emergency rooms each year because of a drug reaction during the 2013-14 period. More than a quarter (27%) of these patients had to be hospitalized. Furthermore, about 35% of ER visits due to drug reactions occurred among adults 65 or older between 2013 and 2014. 
(Sources: JAMA2 Minute Medicine)

Additionally, the team found that anticoagulants, antibiotics and diabetes medicines were implicated in an estimated 47 percent of ED visits for adverse drug events. Among children 5 or younger, antibiotics were the most common drug class leading to an ER visit: 56% of the total. Among older children and teens, antibiotics were the most common cause of an ER visit (32%), followed by antipsychotics (nearly 5%).
(Sources: Science DailyChicago Tribune)


  1. Collaboration is necessary among physicians and other health professionals in primary care, specialty care, pharmacy, and emergency medicine to answer these questions in the quest for safer models of patient care.
  2. Healthcare entities are encouraged to monitor antibiotic prescribing practices and offer regular feedback to clinicians, or have clinicians assess their own antibiotic prescribing practices themselves.
  3. Healthcare entities are encouraged to provide educational resources to clinicians and patients on antibiotic prescribing, and ensure access to needed expertise on optimizing antibiotic prescribing.

(Sources: Science DailyCDC)