The frequency of adverse drug reaction related admissions according to method of detection, admission urgency and medical department specialty

BMC Clin Pharmacol. 2009 May 4;9:8. doi: 10.1186/1472-6904-9-8.


Background: Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) have been regarded as a major public health problem since they represent a sizable percentage of admissions. Unfortunately, there is a wide variation of ADR related admissions among different studies. The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of ADR related admissions and its dependency on reporting and method of detection, urgency of admissions and included medical departments reflecting department/hospital type within one study.

Methods: The study team of internal medicine specialists retrospectively reviewed 520 randomly selected medical records (3%) of patients treated in the medical departments of the primary city and tertiary referral governmental hospital for certain ADRs causing admissions regarding WHO causality criteria. All medical records were checked for whether the treating physicians recognised and documented ADRs causing admissions. The hospital information system was checked to ensure ADR related diagnoses were properly coded and the database of a national spontaneous reporting system was searched for patients with ADRs included in this study.

Results: The established frequency of admissions due to certain ADRs recognised by the study team and documented in medical records by the treating physicians was the same and represented 5.8% of all patients (30/520). The frequency of ADR causing admissions detected by employing a computer-assisted approach using an ICD-10 coding system was 0.2% (1/520), and no patient admitted due to ADRs was reported to the national reporting system (0/520). The recognized frequency of ADR related admissions also depends on the department's specialty (p = 0.001) and acceptance of urgently admitted patients (p = 0.001). Patients admitted due to ADRs were significantly older compared to patients without ADRs (p = 0.025). Gastrointestinal bleeding due to NSAID, acetylsalicylic acid and warfarin was the most common ADR that resulted in admission and represented 40% of all certain ADRs (12/30) according to WHO causality criteria.

Conclusion: ADRs cause 5.8% of admissions in medical departments in the primary city and tertiary referral hospital. The physicians recognise certain ADR related admissions according to WHO causality criteria and note them in medical records, but they rarely code and report ADRs. The established frequency of ADR related admissions depends on the detection method, department specialty and frequency of urgently admitted patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Hospital Departments
  • Hospital Information Systems
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • Medicine
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Specialization
  • Young Adult