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Ann Saudi Med. 2008 Nov-Dec;28(6):426-9.

Admissions through the emergency department due to drug-related problems.

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  • 1Pharmaceutical Care Department, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.



Hospital admissions due to drug-related problems (DRPs) have been studied internationally, but local data are limited. Therefore, we undertook a prospective, observational study of all admmissions through the emergency department (ED) at a tertiary referral hospital in Saudi Arabia to determine the incidence of admissions through the ED due to DRPs, types of DRPs, length of stay (LOS) in the hospital after ED admissions due to DRPs, and assessment of preventability of admissions due to DRPs.


All admissions through the ED over a period of 28 consecutive days were evaluated to determine if they were due to definite or possible DRPs. Data was collected on a daily basis for each admission over the previous 24 hours. Each incident was assessed by three investigators.


Of 557 patients admitted through the ED, 82 (14.7%) admissions were due to DRP (53 definite, 29 possible). The most common types of DRP were failure to receive medication in 25 cases (47.2%), an adverse drug reaction in 13 cases (24.5%), and drug overdose in 6 cases (11.3%). In the definite DRP group, 83.0% were definitely preventable, 3.8% were possibly preventable and 13.2% were definitely non-preventable.


DRPs are a serious and costly issue facing health care professionals and health care systems. Most admissions due to DRPs are avoidable.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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