Adverse Drug Events

Medications are the most common intervention in health care and are also most commonly associated with adverse events in hospitalized patients. Not all medications in clinical use are of equal risk to patients. Serious adverse events appear to be caused by relatively small number of medications.

To address the risk factors associated with adverse drug events (ADEs), the National Action Plan for Adverse Drug Event Prevention (ADE Action Plan) was established with two key objectives: (1) identify common, preventable, and measurable adverse drug events that may result in significant patient harm; and (2) align the efforts of Federal health agencies to reduce patient harms from these specific ADEs nationally. Three types of ADEs were selected as the high-priority targets of the ADE Action Plan:

  • Anticoagulants (primary ADE of concern: bleeding
  • Diabetes agents (primary ADE of concern: hypoglycemia)
  • Opioids (primary ADE of concern: accidental overdoses/oversedation/ respiratory depression)

Goal: By September 27, 2018, a 20 percent reduction in Adverse Drug Events