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Adverse Drug Reactions a Major Cause of Unplanned Hospitalizations of Elderly Veterans

Veterans who are age 65 and older and taking multiple medications for various conditions are at risk of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) that can lead to unplanned hospitalizations.

In fact, a new study reveals 10% of unplanned hospitalizations among this group were related to ADRs.

The study included a group of 678 veterans hospitalized directly from an ambulatory care setting for an unplanned admission.

There were 70 ADRs involving 113 drugs in 68 hospitalizations. More than one-third (36.8%) of these hospitalizations were considered to be preventable.

The researchers estimated that if they applied these findings to the population of more than 2.4 million veterans receiving care during the study period (2003-2006), as many as 8,000 hospitalizations would have been preventable.

For details, see Marcum, Z.A. et al. (2012). Prevalence of unplanned hospitalizations caused by adverse drug reactions in older veterans. Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 60, 34-41.

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