Primary-care physicians who encourage their patients to let them know about bothersome side effects of prescribed medications –– and who address such problems promptly –– can reduce the chances that patients will be harmed by the medications, according to a new study by researchers in Boston.
The study results, published in the Jan. 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, will help researchers develop strategies for decreasing the number of adverse drug events (ADEs) –– instances of injury arising from prescription medicines –– in patients across the country, the authors suggest.
"In an earlier study, we tracked ADEs in a group of patients being treated in primary-care practices. We expected that the same percentage of outpatients would have ADEs as had been found in studies of hospitalized patients –– about 7 percent," says the studys lead author, Saul N. Weingart, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Patient Safety at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He conducted the research while on staff at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "We were astounded to find the actual rate was 25 percent, and that many of the ADEs were preventable. In the new study, we wanted to see the extent to which doctor/patient communication about patients medication symptoms resulted in such incidents."
Bill Schaller | EurekAlert!
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