Adverse drug events reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration increased significantly between 1998 and 2005, according to a study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
A total of 467,809 serious adverse eventsan event resulting in death, birth defect, disability, hospitalization or that was life-threatening or required intervention to prevent harmwas reported to the FDA in that time period. Thomas Moore of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, Huntingdon Valley, Pa., and colleagues at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C., analyzed the events reported for the study published in the Archives, a Journal of the American Medicine Association resource. In the same time frame, the number of fatal adverse drug events increased from 5,519 to 15,107. Pain medications and drugs that modify the immune systems were some of the most-frequently reported drugs associated with fatal events, according to the study.
A total of 1,489 drugs were associated with adverse events, but of those, 51 drugs accounted for 203,957, or 43.6%, of the total adverse event reports, according to the study.
The FDA tracks adverse events through its reporting systems, known as "MedWatch." The federal agency receives the reports both directly from healthcare professionals and through drug manufacturers.