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Adverse drug events, and their impact on patients

Pennsylvania residents who take prescribed medications are most likely aware of the danger of adverse drug events. ADEs refer to any medication-related injuries, such as those relating to allergic reactions, overdoses or prescriptions. They are behind 100,000 hospitalization cases and more than 3.5 million physician office visits every year. ADEs also happen to be the fourth leading reason of death in the entire world.

The medication errors that lead to ADEs can be made at any stage, including the prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, adherence and monitoring stages. Doctors are largely to blame for these errors, but patients could compound a mistake. For example, patients may fail to bring up issues out of fear or pay little attention to any but the most severe symptoms.

This partly explains why ADEs and medication errors are, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, underreported phenomena. Another reason is that doctors are not obliged to report an adverse reaction to the FDA. Physicians and nurses do track these issues with an ADE scorecard, however, which can help reveal patterns in side effects.

Most ADEs involve anticoagulants, antibiotics, diabetes medications or opioids. They are most common among diabetes patients being treated with Invokana (the trade name for canagliflozin). The FDA even issued a warning in August 2018 that canagliflozin users run the risk for rare infections and bone fractures.

A medication error can lead to preventable injuries and unnecessary medical treatments. If the error shows that the doctor failed to live up to an objective standard of care, the victim may have good grounds for a medical malpractice claim. These claims end in some of the largest settlements in the field of personal injury law, so victims may want an attorney to assist with every step. The attorney could bring in third-party investigators to obtain evidence of negligence.

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