Medication Side Effects Result in 700 Deaths a Year in Switzerland

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During the eight-year study period, adverse drug reactions accounted for 2.3% of all hospital admissions, according to the study. Nearly half of those admitted for side effects (46.9%) were over the age of 65.

The most common side effects noted were related to the digestive system (such as gastrointestinal inflammation), genitourinary system (for example, acute renal failure), or mental/behavioral state (such as opioid dependence).

Some 2.2% of those hospitalised due to side effects, or about 700 per year, died in hospital, the study further shows. Of these deaths, around 12% were reported to Swissmedic.

Despite the legal obligation to report, only about 5% of these hospitalisations were reported to the medicines authority Swissmedic, as the University of Lucerne announced on Thursday. Yet these reports are very important, study leader Patrick Beeler stressed in a statement.

Most previously unknown risks of medications are discovered in this way. According to the researcher, they thus form the most important cornerstone for drug safety. Beeler advocates that the duty to report be adequately addressed in the training of medical professionals.

In an international comparison, this reporting rate is still high, says Beeler. Internationally, the reporting rate is usually between 0.6 and 4.7%.

Source : SWI