Postdischarge adverse drug reactions in primary care originating from hospital care in France: a nationwide prospective study

Drug Saf. 2001;24(10):781-92. doi: 10.2165/00002018-200124100-00006.


Objective: To describe and estimate the incidence and preventability of postdischarge adverse drug reactions (ADRs) detected in primary care in France.

Design: Prospective study of patients referred to hospital by participating general practitioners (GPs). These GPs reported all cases of an adverse reaction to a drug instituted in hospital among patients who consulted them within 30 days of discharge.

Setting: 305 general practices from all French regions.

Patients: 7540 patients referred by GPs to private or public hospitals.

Main outcome measures: The incidence for postdischarge ADRs in primary care, and their preventability.

Results: 30 cases of postdischarge ADR were detected in 29 re-consulting patients, yielding a minimal incidence for France of 0.4 per 100 admissions (95% confidence interval 0.3 to 0.6). The ADRs were assessed as serious in 60% of cases. The main drug classes implicated were cardiovascular drugs (8 ADRs), oral anticoagulants (6), psychoactive drugs (4), antidiabetics (3), and opioid analgesics (3). Patients experiencing a postdischarge ADR were older than patients not experiencing one (median age: 77 vs 68 years; p = 0.004). Detected ADRs were considered preventable in 59% of cases.

Conclusions: Physicians and patients should be aware of the possible occurrence of postdischarge ADRs. Patient information in hospital, close postdischarge follow-up of patients at risk, and appropriate transmission of information between hospital physicians and GPs can help to prevent them.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • France
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires