Adverse Effects of Common Drugs: Adults

Peter R. Lewis, Kelly D owhower Karpa, Todd M atthew Felix

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Although drugs can be an essential and lifesaving component of the care of adult patients, their use frequently is accompanied by adverse effects and life-threatening adverse drug reactions that can result in significant disability and mortality. The potential for drug-related severe morbidity and mortality is compounded during periods of hospitalization, when high-risk drugs such as anticoagulants or insulin are used, and when care in an intensive care unit is required. Patient factors in adults that can increase the risk of drug harms include immunosuppression, cognitive impairment, depression, alcoholism and other substance abuse disorders, chronic kidney disease, hepatic dysfunction, coagulopathies, limited English proficiency, institutional/nursing home care, and underinsurance or lack of insurance. Physician factors that can increase the risk of drug harms include inappropriate prescribing of drugs (including to pregnant and breastfeeding women), failure to appropriately discontinue/deprescribe drugs, insufficient drug reconciliation, failure to coordinate care among multiple prescribing clinicians, and failure to elicit and incorporate into health histories and clinical decision-making the widespread use of nonprescription drugs, herbal products, and dietary supplements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalFP essentials
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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