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J Qual Clin Pract. 1999 Mar;19(1):19-22.

The nature and extent of drug-related hospitalisations in Australia.

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School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.


In order to determine the nature and extent of drug-related hospitalisation in Australia, the Australian National Hospital Morbidity Collection, the Quality in Australian Health Care Study and Australian studies assessing drug-related hospital admissions were reviewed. The incidence figures, drugs and conditions most commonly implicated, and estimates of avoidability of medication-related problems were compared. The three data sources were found to provide consistent results, with all sources implicating cytotoxics, antirheumatics, anticoagulants, corticosteroids, antihypertensives and cardiovascular agents in medication-related hospitalisations. Estimates of the extent of the problem were also consistent, suggesting that at least 80 000 medication-related hospitalisations occur in Australia each year; between 32% and 69% of these hospitalisations were considered avoidable. It was concluded that medication-related hospitalisations are a major public health problem in Australia. The avoidability estimates suggest that much can and should be done to reduce this problem.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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