Medication Error Hospital Admissions on the Rise

Medication errors led to a dramatic rise in hospitilizations from 2003 to 2008 according to Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The statistics are as follows:

• For patients admitted to the hospital, the top five categories causing side effects and injuries were corticosteroids (283,700 cases), pain relievers (269,400), anticoagulants (218,800), drugs to treat cancer and immune system disorders (234,300) and heart and blood pressure medicines (191,300).

• More than half (53%) of hospitalized patients treated for side effects or other medication-related injuries were age 65 or older, 30% were 45 to 64, 14% were between 18 and 44, and 3% were under age 18. Children and teenagers accounted for 22% of emergency cases.

• About 57% of the hospitalized patients and 61% of ED cases were female.