Drug reactions claim 100,000 lives every year in the US
modern drugs are a boon to some and a bane to others. About 100,000 people may be dying every year in the us as a result of unintended side effects of therapeutic drugs. According to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, side-effects from drugs is the fourth leading cause of death in the us , after heart disease, cancer and stroke.
The research team which conducted this study said that over 2.2 million of the 30 million patients hospitalised in 1994 have suffered adverse drug reactions. Of these, 106,000 people died. The leader of the research team, Bruce Pomerantz of the University of Toronto, calls it a "remarkably high" figure. "Drugs have wonderful benefits; but they also have risks," he says.
Pomerantz's team concludes that the number of drug reactions remain fairly constant through the years. The team analysed pooled data from 39 out of 153 long-term studies on drug reactions done in us hospitals between 1966 and 1996. Overall, about seven per cent of the hospital patients suffered adverse effects, Pomerantz says.
The researchers studied side reactions such as the bleeding suffered by heart patients who use drugs that dilute the blood. They noted that careful moni toring might prevent several of these adverse side-effects. They advised sharing of information between healthworkers to prevent complications in patients undergoing multiple treatments.
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