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Einstein (São Paulo)

Print version ISSN 1679-4508On-line version ISSN 2317-6385


FARFEL, José Marcelo et al. Adverse drug events leading to emergency department visits in elderly: the role of inappropriate prescription. Einstein (São Paulo) [online]. 2010, vol.8, n.2, pp.175-179. ISSN 2317-6385.


Adverse drug reactions are more incident among the elderly and are frequently associated to inappropriate prescription for this group. The objective of the current study was to investigate the incidence and the characteristics of emergency department visits, related to inappropriate prescription, at the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein.


Patients aged 60 years or older, admitted to the emergency department at Unidade Avançada Ibirapuera of Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, were included in the study. Potentially inappropriate medication for the elderly was evaluated using updated 2003 Beers criteria.


Over a period of 6 months, 214 individuals were included in the study, being 53.7% male. The mean age was 70.8 years (60-107). A total of 48 registries of inappropriate prescription were recorded in 42 patients (19.6% of sample). An emergency visit related to adverse drug event was verified in 27 individuals (12.5% of the sample). From these patients, 34.5% were admitted to the emergency department because of an adverse event caused by an inappropriate medication.


Inappropriate prescription is frequent among elderly patients admitted to emergency department. A surveillance system and a program to educate physicians on the most recent criteria of appropriate prescription may help reducing emergency visits and adverse drug events in the elderly population.

Keywords : Pharmaceutical preparations/adverse effects; Pharmaceutical preparations/administration & dosage; Drug prescriptions; Emergency service, hospital; Aged.

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