Evaluation of the prevalence and economic burden of adverse drug reactions presenting to the medical emergency department of a tertiary referral centre: a prospective study

BMC Clin Pharmacol. 2007 Jul 28;7:8. doi: 10.1186/1472-6904-7-8.


Background: Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are now recognized as an important cause of hospital admissions, with a proportion ranging from 0.9-7.9%. They also constitute a significant economic burden. We thus aimed at determining the prevalence and the economic burden of ADRs presenting to Medical Emergency Department (ED) of a tertiary referral center in India

Methods: A prospective, observational study of adult patients carried out over a 6 week period in 2005. The prevalence of ADRs, their economic burden from the hospital perspective, severity, and preventability were assessed using standard criteria.

Results: A total 6899 patients presented during the study period. Of these, 2046 were admitted for various reasons. A total of 265/6899 patients had ADRs (3.84 %). A total of 141/265 was admitted due to ADsR, and thus ADRs as a cause of admissions were 6.89% of total admissions. A majority (74.71%) were found to be of moderate severity. The most common ADRs were anti-tubercular drug induced hepatotoxicity, warfarin toxicity and chloroquine induced gastritis. The median duration of hospitalization was 5 days [95% CI 5.37, 7.11], and the average hospitalization cost incurred per patient was INR 6197/- (USD 150). Of total ADRs, 59.62% (158/265) were found to be either definitely or potentially avoidable.

Conclusion: The study shows that ADRs leading to hospitalization are frequent and constitute a significant economic burden. Training of patients and prescribers may lead to a reduction in hospitalization due to avoidable ADRs and thus lessen their economic burden.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / economics
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Care Costs
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Prospective Studies