EILEEN G. HOLLAND, PHARM.D., and FRANK V. DEGRUY, M.D.
American Family Physician 56:7, 1 Nov 1997
Recent estimates suggest that each year more than 1 million patients are injured while in the hospital and approximately 180,000 die because of these injuries. Furthermore, drug-related morbidity and mortality are common and are estimated to cost more than $136 billion a year. The most common type of drug-induced disorder is dose-dependent and predictable. Many adverse drug events occur as a result of drug-drug, drug-disease or drug-food interactions and, therefore, are preventable. Clinicians’ awareness of the agents that commonly cause drug-induced disorders and recognition of compromised organ function can significantly decrease the likelihood that an adverse event will occur. Patient assessment should include a thorough medication history, including an analysis of all prescribed and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, herbs and “health-food” products to identify drug-induced problems and potentially reversible conditions. An increased awareness among clinicians of drug-induced disorders should maximize their recognition and minimize their incidence.