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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

National surveillance of emergency department visits for outpatient adverse drug events in children and adolescents.

Cohen AL, Budnitz DS, Weidenbach KN, et al. J Pediatr. 2008;152(3):416-421.

Medication misadventures leading to emergency department visits have been described, particularly in older adults. Similar studies in the ambulatory setting also indicate a significant burden from adverse drug events (ADEs) in the adult population. This study analyzed more than 158,000 pediatric patient visits to an emergency department where treatment was rendered for an ADE. Unintentional overdoses, allergic reactions, and adverse effects were the most common ADE types encountered, with antimicrobial agents, analgesic medications, and respiratory medications most frequently implicated. The authors conclude that many ADEs in this patient population are preventable and that strategies should be explored to address their findings, such as targeted measures to prevent unintentional overdoses in toddlers.