Adverse drug event-related hospitalisation in persons with neurodevelopmental disorders: a state-wide retrospective cohort study

J Intellect Disabil Res. 2019 May;63(5):429-440. doi: 10.1111/jir.12586. Epub 2019 Jan 4.


Background: Little is known about the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of adverse drug events (ADEs) in patients with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD).

Objective: The objective of this study was to describe and compare the demographic details of people with and without NDD hospitalised due to ADEs.

Methods: The all-inclusive New South Wales Admitted Patient Data Collection from 2001 to 2014 was employed to identify ADE-related hospitalisations in patients with NDD using the International Classification of Diseases 10th revision Australian modification codes. We derived case sets specific to different clinical groups and patient characteristics and compared proportional differences between patients with and without intellectual disability using chi squared tests.

Results: A total of 2173 patients with NDD were admitted for acute care of ADEs, accounting for 0.7% of all ADE-related hospitalisations. Hospitalised ADEs among patients with NDD increased by twofold over the 14-year study period. Psychotropic medications and opioid analgesic medications were leading causes of ADE-related hospitalisations in patients with NDD. Compared with their counterparts, patients with NDD were younger, experienced more socio-economic disadvantage and less private insurance coverage, suffered with less severe but different co-morbid clinical conditions and incurred more challenges in the acute hospital care setting.

Conclusion: Although the pattern of ADE-related hospitalisations in patients with NDD differed from that in patients without NDD, there is a lack of targeted healthcare programmes to meet their special needs. This study suggests the need for countermeasures in primary healthcare settings to reduce the burden of ADEs in this vulnerable group.

Keywords: adverse drug events; hospital care; neurodevelopmental disorders; therapeutic medications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • New South Wales / epidemiology
  • Psychotropic Drugs / adverse effects*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Psychotropic Drugs