Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Ann Pharmacother. 2005 Dec;39(12):1990-5. Epub 2005 Nov 15.

Drug-related emergency department visits in an elderly veteran population.

Author information

Drug Information, Blue Shield of California, San Francisco, USA.



Given that adverse drug events result in extensive costs and healthcare resource utilization, the goal is to better understand drug-related emergency department (ED) visits so that programs can be implemented to improve the quality of health care.


To (1) determine the incidence of drug-related ED visits at a large, tertiary care, Veterans Affairs hospital; (2) identify causes of these drug-related ED visits; (3) determine patient outcomes, healthcare resource utilization, and costs associated with these visits; and (4) determine the proportion of adverse drug reaction (ADR)-related ED visits that were spontaneously reported to the hospital's ADR reporting program.


We conducted a retrospective electronic chart review of all patients who visited the ED during the second week of each month in 2003. Causes for drug-related visits were identified. ADRs in this study included side effects, drug allergies, and drug-drug interactions (DDIs) and were assessed using the Naranjo probability scale.


A total of 2169 patients were included in the study. Drug-related visits accounted for 12.6% of all ED visits. The main causes of drug-related visits were ADRs and nonadherence, which accounted for 33% and 19% of drug-related visits, respectively. Only 11% of these ADRs were spontaneously reported to the hospital's ADR reporting program. Thirty-five percent of drug-related visits led to hospitalizations, which resulted in an average length of stay of 9.3 days. The institution's total cost of drug-related visits was approximately 1.5 million US dollars over 12 weeks.


Many ED visits are drug related and often result in hospitalization and increased healthcare resource utilization. Only a minimal number of the ADRs resulting in ED visits are spontaneously reported to hospital ADR reporting programs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Atypon
    Loading ...
    Support Center