You’ve probably seen numerous television commercials lately
advertising new prescription drugs - advertisements that often
include lengthy segments covering possible side effects of
the drugs. Although drug therapies may offer cure and relief,
negative side effects often accompany therapy. Drugs can even
cause death in some cases; adverse drug events (ADEs), or
negative side effects from drugs, are one of the six leading
causes of in-hospital death in the U.S.
assess the incidence of death from doctor-administered drugs
in a Norwegian hospital and identify patient characteristics
that increase odds of drug-related death, the authors of a
recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine examined
approximately 750 in-hospital fatalities over a two-year period.
Clinical records, autopsy results, and pre- and post-mortem
drug analyses were ascertained to determine death from drug
Drug-related deaths were directly or indirectly linked with
one or more drugs in 18% of the patients. Likelihood of fatal
drug use was directly related to increases in age, number
of diseases, and number of drugs used. The most dangerous
drugs were cardiovascular and anti-clotting drugs, and drugs
that stimulate the function of internal organs. Over 200 patients,
or 25%, were using 12 or more drugs at the time of death;
the average number of drugs per patient increased significantly
upon arrival at the hospital.
The authors of this study noted that only eight of these
drug-related deaths were reported to the health authorities
as required by official regulations. Drugs are often necessary
for life-threatening conditions, but if you are making a decision
on which drugs you will and will not take for your health,
consider the saying "Less is more."
To find out more about the dangers of drugs, check out http://www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/general/drugs/index.html.
Reference: Ebbesen J, Buajordet I,
Erikssen J, et al. Drug-related deaths in a department of
internal medicine. Archives of Internal Medicine 2001:161(19),