Adverse drug events occur when a person must seek medical care for an issue with a prescribed drug. This can include things like overdoses, medication mistakes, and allergic reactions. Adverse drug events can have serious consequences in many cases, especially when it comes to overdose, which can lead to loss of life. It's important for people being prescribed medications to understand these risks so they can prevent any problems in the event an error is made.
Adverse drug events typically impact people over 65 at a higher rate. People in this age group tend to be prescribed more medication to treat the effects of aging, which increases their risk of experiencing a bad reaction to a drug. Approximately 1.3 million people will visit emergency rooms on a yearly basis to address a health issue caused by medication. Of these people, 350,000 will need to be hospitalized.
Certain types of medication prove to be riskier than others. For example, some medications require blood testing to ensure the correct dosage is being provided. This includes medications used to treat heart ailments, seizure drugs, and blood thinners. Medical staff must ensure that proper testing is being administered to patients in order to tweak the dosage. Patients should also inquire about blood testing when being prescribed medicine, especially when it's used to treat a serious condition or illness.
Antibiotics are another drug that can be potentially dangerous when prescribed or used incorrectly. Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Common colds and flu are almost always caused by viral infections, which means that an antibiotic will not be successful at treating symptoms or making a person less contagious. Each year, 150,000 people must seek out emergency care as a result of taking antibiotics. Taking them when not needed will make them less effective when you actually experience a bacterial infection, which can lead to severe complications.