The number of hospitalizations due to medication side effects jumped by more than half between 2004 and 2008, says a federal report that heightened concerns about polypharmacy among an aging U.S. population.
Antibiotics, anti-cancer drugs, benzodiazepines, corticosteroids, insulin, and blood thinners and other cardiovascular drugs were among the leading causes of more than 2.7 million hospital stays and treat-and-release visits to emergency departments in 2008, said the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality report, released in April.
Opiates such as codeine and morphine were a principal culprit, implicated in 121,200 hospital stays and 44,300 ED visits. The latest confirmation of problems associated with painkillers came as the Obama administration launched an inter- agency attack on opioid misuse that a White House report dubbed “America’s prescription drug abuse crisis.”
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